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Patrick Roberts

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Fragments 7

Cats with restraining orders

or in trouble for alleged anti-social behaviour

Oscar of Wingrave, Buckinghamshire
Lewis of Fairfield, Connecticut
Asbo of Wigan, Lancashire



Oscar the cat, of Wingrave, Buckinghamshire

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Oscar, from the Buckinghamshire village of Wingrave, was in trouble late in 2012 for allegedly terrorising his neighbourhood, attacking children and dogs and frightening other cats. Oscar, 5 years old at the time, weighed a hefty 16 pounds (over 7 kg) and was a Turkish Van, a powerful and intelligent breed of cat sometimes called 'dogs in cat suits'. He apparently attacked one neighbour, who found him on his bed and tried to move him off, putting the gentleman in hospital for treatment to injuries Oscar inflicted on his arm. Some people in the village took to arming themselves with water pistols to ward him off should he attack.

Oscar the ASBO cat, Wingrave, Buckinghamshire Oscar the cat with owner Caroline Hughes, Wingrave, Bucks Then he went missing, and there was relief in much of the village, such was the cat's reputation, whether deserved or not. He was eventually found in a town some 30 miles (50 km) away, possibly having hitched a ride in a delivery van. Being very hungry, he found a house where there were other cats and therefore food, and muscled in — to the dismay of a cat-sitter who was looking after the resident cats while their owners were away. He started fighting the others and made himself so unpopular that the cat-sitter refused to return. Taken to the vet by the cats' owners when they got back, Oscar was found to be microchipped and was returned to Wingrave. Some inhabitants had been hoping he'd gone for good, but his human Caroline Hughes was delighted and relieved to have him back.

Turkish Van cat Oscar, Wingrave, Bucks She admitted he was the dominant one (he lived with his two brothers) and that he probably regarded some of the neighbours' houses as his territory, but insisted that at home he was a normal, loving feline. She denied that he'd ever attacked children or dogs; however, Oscar was being given a herbal remedy to try to keep him calmer. It was suggested that he could be deaf, an ailment to which Van cats are prone, such that he could feel easily threatened and responded by being aggressive, but Caroline didn't think that was the case, saying he hated the vacuum cleaner, and could hear a food sachet being opened even when he was upstairs (like most cats?! —Ed.)

Oscar the cat, Wingrave, Buckinghamshire, England Whatever the reasons for his behaviour, Oscar was 'confined to barracks' while Caroline considered options. She thought she might move house to a different county and find a home with a large, secure garden where he would be safe and contained — and in due course that is what happened.

Oscar, with his human and two other cats, moved in the autumn of 2013. It seems there had been some unpleasant developments at Wingrave, with an anonymous note through the door warning that if Oscar was let out again he wouldn't return alive, and hints also heard via the local grapevine that his earlier disappearance might not have been accidental. As a consequence he had been permanently confined to the house while still there, but at the new house he enjoyed the freedom of a spacious garden that was made entirely cat-secure, with a system designed and tailored for the purpose but causing no harm to cats attempting to breach it. Once it was completed, so far as we know, Oscar & Co had not been able to defeat it — although they tried to!


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Lewis the cat, of Fairfield, Connecticut



In Fairfield, Connecticut in March 2006, 5-year-old Lewis, a black-and-white longhair, attacked the residents of a quiet street. He would spring onto people's legs from behind, clinging on, biting and scratching and causing hospital visits for treatment in some cases. After one resident was targeted twice, and Lewis had also attacked a visiting Avon lady, the local animal control officer was called in. He said the errant feline could have limited freedom from his owner's home 'provided she gave him Prozac'!

Lewis the cat with owner Ruth Cisero - Fairfield, CT Lewis the cat was confined indoors by a court order - Fairfield, CT Lewis apparently didn't think much of this idea, refused his medication — and attacked someone else. This resulted in his being 'confined to barracks'. Owner Ruth claimed the neighbours had been tormenting him by throwing eggs and spraying him with water. Meanwhile the Avon lady filed a lawsuit against owner Ruth Cisero . . .

A Fairfield, CT judge ruled that Lewis must be kept permanently indoors. His owner was granted 'accelerated rehabilitation', which meant that her record would be expunged after 2 years (presumably if Lewis didn't cause any more problems!).

By July 2008 a judge had dismissed the charge of 'reckless endangerment' against Cisero, concluding that she had met the terms required by her special probation for first-time offenders. The overall result was that Lewis was then an indoor pet, allowed outside only in a cat carrier. His case gained huge attention in the US and elsewhere — many press reports dubbed him the 'crazy cat'. Supporters created a page for him at MySpace, and a Wikipedia page is also devoted to him.

Lewis the cat with Ruth Cisero, Fairfield, Connecticut, USA

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Wigan, Lancashire, UK

Two cross cats
A similar situation occurred in Wigan, Lancashire, England, when a stray black tomcat suddenly arrived on a quiet residential street and in an anti-social manner. He 'beat up' any local cat that crossed his path, and left strong-smelling reminders of his presence. The human residents christened him Asbo (in the UK an ASBO is an Anti-Social Behaviour Order, normally applying to humans) and tried to befriend him — but he didn't want to know.

He then disappeared, only to return seven weeks later: but he was a changed cat, wanting fussing and titbits and clearly wishing to be friendly. It turned out that one person had become tired of having his own cats bullied and had called in Cats Protection, the UK cat-rescue organisation. They trapped Asbo, neutered him and returned him to the area. Another resident gave him a home and a new name, and he was said to be calm, friendly, sensible — and odourless.

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Our featured feline at the head of the page, and your companion through Feline Fragments, is Maggie. She came as a kitten from Powys Cat Rescue. One of their volunteers had seen her wandering around, apparently uncared for, and thought her rather young to be just left to roam. The person 'responsible' for her said she 'didn't care', and so the youngster was taken in for rehoming. Only about 4 months old when I brought her home in 2003, she was a self-assured soul, probably because of her early experience, and was soon climbing all the available trees in the garden. She was a determined hunter in her earlier days, and was usually outside, but now prefers snoozing unless the weather is good. She has superb whiskers — and as the photo shows, loves getting into things! (see it here without the puzzle effect)

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Page created September 2006, with later revisions and additions