By archy cockroach and mehitabel cat, City Desk
Recipients of a Bullitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting for their three-part story Bedlam in New York (part one here, part two here and part three here)
We had noticed a sudden influx of very expensive kittens in the city. The sellers said that they were a special breed from the Far East. There were no licensed breeders in the United States, so they had to be imported. The transportation costs were part of the reason they were so expensive. There’s only one facility that handles the kittens, and there are no current plans to allow the cats to be bred here.
We have a friend at a shelter who was concerned that the pricey kittens were taking forever homes away from local kittens. He asked if we knew anything about the cats.
It was all very strange. Why would someone be shipping kittens overseas on an ongoing basis? Why weren’t they allowing the cats to be bred in this country?
Being a mixed breed, mehitabel is not a fan of breeders. If two Siamese cats got together, they’d have a purebred litter. If a Siamese chose a Korat, there wouldn’t be a pure bloodline. So what? The humans needed to keep their hands off cat business. Especially baby cat business.
We decided to investigate. Being a cat, mehitable stood the best chance of being able to get near one of the kittens. We discovered when a litter was scheduled to arrive at the harbor. When we arrived, we had no trouble finding the kittens. One of the new human parents worked for a local news station. A crew came along to get the story.
mehitabel had to admit that the kittens were very cute. But he really didn’t see the difference between them and some of the other kittens in the city.
Once the kittens were connected with their human parents, archy jumped into the cage with the one who had seemed to be the leader. The kitten was very friendly and tried to help archy. archy was surprised to find that they had no trouble communicating. The kitten seemed smart enough, but archy couldn’t make sense of what she was saying.
She said that the kittens had left their mother that morning. For the first few weeks of their lives they had lived on a farm. It was beautiful, but they were kept in a pen and couldn’t explore it. The mother cats were released after a few litters. She didn’t know what happened to the father cats; she never saw them.
archy asked why they were put on a ship rather than an airplane to come to the U.S. It seemed like a huge waste of time. The kitten said that she didn’t know what he was talking about. They traveled in the same truck she was in when she met her forever humans.
archy noticed that they had stopped in front of a very nice apartment building. He thanked the kitten for her help. She purred good-bye. He jumped out of the car when the door opened. He knew cockroaches weren’t welcome in that type of building and knew what would happen to him if he stayed.
We discussed what archy had learned. We were sure we had met the right truck. And they were by the harbor. What was going on? We needed to look further into the matter.
To be continued…
(pictures courtesy of Google Images)