Since Megan Sorbara founded Naples Cat Rescue in 2013 to help provide homes for injured and neglected cats, she’s probably seen just about everything. Cats hit by cars or attacked by dogs and other such horrors faced by ferals and strays. However, when one kitty was brought in by animal control officers, she was puzzled at first. Then she was shocked.
This Cat Right Here
The officers had gone 200 miles out of their way to bring him to her no-kill, non-profit shelter, based in Naples, Florida. They knew she had a good reputation and that she’d take excellent care of him. When she took a closer look at him, she knew why they had brought him in. His paws and forehead were painted purple.
Sorbara Knew What It Meant
That purple coloring meant this cat was going to be used in a dogfighting ring.
In this vicious “sport,” where two dogs are pitted against each other, cats, kittens, rabbits, puppies, dogs who are passive or submissive, even wild animals, and animals obtained for free from Craigslist, are used for bait. And if you don’t know why it’s a bad idea to offer animals for free on Craigslist, this article from The Dodo will tell you why.
Further, BarkPost, explains:
“What’s a bait animal? Well, it’s even more awful than it sounds. Bait animals are used by dog fighters to encourage aggression in their fight dogs and test their ‘fighting instinct.’ These bait animals are typically tied to a post with their snouts taped shut so that they can’t fight back (in some cases their teeth are even broken), while fight dogs are set upon them, sometimes tearing them apart. If a bait animal isn’t dead at the end of one of these sessions, they’re often given to the fight dog to kill.”
When the dogs do fight, they are forced to fight to the death, or until one of them runs away from the ring. And there’s no guarantee that the so-called “loser” will survive either. They are often killed by their owners.
As of 2008, dogfighting is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to ASPCApro. And possessing dogs for fighting is considered a felony in most states. It’s also illegal to be a spectator in dogfights in every state except Montana and Hawaii.
This Innocent Cat Was Almost A Victim
Fortunately, fate intervened, but it’s horrifying to think that people do this to animals. It’s not mentioned how the officers discovered him, but thank goodness they did. Sorbara was heartbroken thinking about this.
“I consider myself pretty hardened to a lot of stuff,” she wrote on Facebook. “I have dealt with a lot of injured, emaciated, neglected and abused animals, but this one really got to me. By all accounts, he looks good.”
There’s a possibility this poor kitty was stolen from his own home, AddictingStories notes. Sorbara said it was likely that he was let outdoors by his former owners, and that may be how he wound up in such a sickening predicament. And it’s very likely that whoever took him was intending to use him as bait because the color-coding makes it easier to identify their next victim.
“They are ‘color-coded,’ and then thrown to packs of dogs while these sick barbarians place their bets,” Sorbara wrote in her Facebook post.
“I can’t imagine he was handled too nicely by these people when they were marking him. But I really don’t know what he was subjected to prior.”
Despite the trauma he faced, he turned into a sweet-natured, lovable cat who earned the name “Mr. Purple Paws.” Everyone at the NCA adored him.
“He’s just so sweet, rolling over on his back and giving head butts — just adorable,” Sobara said.
Sorbara thinks the cat may have escaped his captors when someone left a door open, or perhaps while he was being transported to a fight, or possibly even while they were traveling to pick up other animals to use as bait.
Having been through so much, Mr. Purple Paws was now in a safe place. And he was happy.
With such winsome good-naturedness, it only took one week for this beautiful cat to win this kind man’s heart and a wonderful new home.
Featured Image by Naples Cat Alliance via Facebook