"In a place like this, you have to keep your front up all the time, but not with Milo."
November 10, 2010 9:43 AM   Subscribe

"When I arrived here, I had nothing to lose." Explains 'Bear'. "When you have nothing to lose—you can get yourself into a lot of trouble. When I got my first cat, it changed me. There is something about holding a cat that makes your anger melt away."
posted by Evilspork (52 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
 
Kitties make everything better.

Cell Cat is watching you incarcerate.

Ceiling Cat would totally be pulling a Shawshank.
posted by Artw at 9:52 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't want my taxpayer money going toward teaching these guys a valuable life lesson, I want my tax money to ensure that prison is a training ground for further brutality and degradation.

NO MORE SOCIALIST KITTY-PETTING
posted by Mister_A at 9:55 AM on November 10, 2010 [36 favorites]


Also, there is something about being awoken at 3am as your first kitty pukes up it's first hairball that makes the anger return pretty quickly.
posted by spicynuts at 9:55 AM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


I spelled MOAR rong pls 4giv
posted by Mister_A at 9:55 AM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Conversely, this is likely to produce a huge uptick in anger amongst prisoners who are allergic to cats.
posted by schmod at 9:55 AM on November 10, 2010


Yikes. So just as she was starting to embark on a fulfilling new adventure in her life, her husband leaves her, taking his supplementary income with him, crushing her dreams, and she hasn't posted online in almost four years?

I hope she went through with her Delta Society training. Those people are awesome. Therapy animals are awesome. They're a great blessing to a lot of people in nursing and convalescent homes, hospice care, hospitals, prisons, all sorts of places.

On preview, her public-facing info on Facebook indicates she now works for a production company: "I produce and direct hotel promotional videos and local commercials (hopefully music videos too--soon) and the occasional short film." Well, hopefully she's happy.
posted by Gator at 9:59 AM on November 10, 2010


I am only a little embarrassed to admit that this made me cry like a freakin' baby.

Heading outside to say hi to the cat we share with our landlord, and maybe scratch her a bit on the side of her neck. She likes that.
posted by bakerina at 9:59 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is awesome. I've done volunteer work in jails, and they are dehumanizing places. Having something warm, fuzzy and purry to remind an inmate of their humanity is amazingly sensible.
posted by QIbHom at 10:03 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Read the article. No tax dollars go to this program.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:07 AM on November 10, 2010


This is my new favorite thing I've ever read on Metafilter.
posted by Leta at 10:09 AM on November 10, 2010


Read the article. No tax dollars go to this program.

I'm pretty sure you missed a joke, there.
posted by vorfeed at 10:11 AM on November 10, 2010 [11 favorites]


They'd better watch out. Those cats are plotting to take over the prison and enslave both the inmates and staff.
posted by essexjan at 10:11 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Drop Cats Not Bombs
posted by fatbaq at 10:15 AM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


I disagree. Our Snowshoe Siamese has ruined a $1,200 chair, has pissed on everything from that chair to our son's rocking chair and runs around at 2am "talking" and climbing up door frames. That cat has done nothing but to aggrevate the shit out of me.
posted by stormpooper at 10:22 AM on November 10, 2010


So I googled him.

I am not going to tell you what STEPHEN F. MAZELWITZ did, and I can assure you that it was a vile, disgusting act that will most certainly revolt and not titillate, but man, all I had to do was google the guy and look what came up. fwap fwap fwap.

kitties.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:24 AM on November 10, 2010


Treating the prisoners like humans by letting them have pets? Terrible!

Actually, of course, this is fantastic. One nice thing about cats over dogs in situations like this (aside from space and exercise requirements) is that you can't really train cats to be "macho." That is, you can't put a spiked collar on a dangerous breed you've trained to be vicious (and a vicious extension of your own inadequacies) like you can with a pit bull, say. Good on everyone involved.
posted by maxwelton at 10:35 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


My dad told me about a program he heard of that involved prisoners training seeing eye dogs. It worked wonders for both the dogs and the prisoners.
posted by orange swan at 10:38 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, what a great program. A good thing for everyone involved: inmates become better people, prisons become safer for the people that work there, and stray cats get homes. Thanks so much for the posting!
posted by Ceniac at 10:40 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sort of awesome, until you get to the bit where the cats seem to be leashed a lot and confined to a cell.

I don't have a problem with cats in prison, or prisoners having cats, but it strikes me that some aspects of the cat's quality of life are given little consideration, which makes me sad as a cat lover.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:52 AM on November 10, 2010


*snifffles* If you'll ascuse me, I'm all hepped up on an estrogen overload and it would appear that some of it got in my eye.

KITTIES! FOR SOCIAL CHANGE!
posted by sonika at 11:00 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]



Sort of awesome, until you get to the bit where the cats seem to be leashed a lot and confined to a cell.

Yeah, I guess they would be a lot better off if we just left them at the shelter to be gassed with all the other unwanted cats.
posted by charlesminus at 11:02 AM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I guess they would be a lot better off if we just left them at the shelter to be gassed with all the other unwanted cats

I guess that's the only options for cats then: leashed for life or be gassed. Seriously?
posted by MuffinMan at 11:05 AM on November 10, 2010


The article said that they don't enforce that part a whole lot.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:07 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


The article said that they don't enforce that part a whole lot

I read that too, but then nearly every picture showed leashed cats.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:09 AM on November 10, 2010


MuffinMan, it sounds like the staff & guards at the prison are somewhat lax about the 'leashed at all times' rule, with an eye to the safety of the cat and 'quality of life'. and several of the pics do show the cats sans leash. (Milo going to the showers regularly, even when 'his' person was away doesn't sound like these cats are too confined). Also, they've got cat trees to climb, lots of vertical space to explore.

I'm not terribly worried about their quality of life.
posted by sandraregina at 11:09 AM on November 10, 2010


The cats are awesome, but indeed: the "I just had to google" bit messed it up for me. "I am now spelling out what I'm not going to spell out but it is gruesome, trust me." Sure.

Damn. I don't even own a cat at the moment to console me. Mraaow.
posted by Namlit at 11:10 AM on November 10, 2010


Sort of awesome, until you get to the bit where the cats seem to be leashed a lot and confined to a cell.

I'm sure there are cats living in tiny New York apartments who don't have a lot more room to wander around in than they might in some of those cells. (I keed, somewhat.)

As far as being leashed goes... both of our cats are leash trained. We don't keep them leashed at all times, but we do when we let them go outside. One of the cats always chooses to go out front where he only has the length of his leash to wander rather than out back where there's an across-the-yard lead to provide a large amount of wandering room. He simply prefers the shorter span of familiar territory.

I'm not saying that leashing cats all the time might be problematic, but I don't get the impression from reading this article that these cats have a horribly constrained lifestyle. They're kept under control, and do seem to get to wander about a bit.

It's a wonderful article. Thanks for posting.
posted by hippybear at 11:20 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


It also depends on the cat, I guess. I have a cat who is so fucking lazy that she can't be arsed to wander around my measly 1BR apartment. Oh no. You leave in the morning, she's in a box on my desk. You come back at night, she's in a box on my desk. She only gets up to stuff her face and refuses to do things like WOULD YOU MOVE AND MAYBE BURN A CALORIE.

That particular animal wouldn't give a shit about being confined to a cell and would probably become very indignant if demands were made upon her to GET OFF HER LARD ASS AND MAYBE CHASE A LASER POINTER OR SOMETHING.
posted by sonika at 11:27 AM on November 10, 2010 [17 favorites]


Hell, I've got a soft, comfortable life and my kitty purring on my lap is still one of the best parts of my day. Yay for this program.
posted by Zed at 11:29 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Litter box wine
posted by not_on_display at 11:44 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good on them. Cats don't care what you did in the past, and I'm glad this exists. Didn't I see this program in a movie, though?
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 11:45 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Toxoplasmosa gondii, is there anything you can't do?
posted by trunk muffins at 11:57 AM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


Toxoplasmosa gondii, is there anything you can't do?

HA. Seriously right? I recognize that I probably have serious Toxo problems given how wrapped around their little paws I am, but hey -- a little Toxoplasmosa gondii makes you a better person? I'm down with that.

Also, totally down with cats having people who care about them, and vice versa.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:19 PM on November 10, 2010




Milo's whereabouts are also unknown at this time. He is to be considered fluffy and adorable! Do not approach Milo unless you want to pet a cute widdle kitty!
posted by Mister_A at 12:22 PM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I guess they would be a lot better off if we just left them at the shelter to be gassed with all the other unwanted cats.

Well, one of the reasons we do euthanize cats is a quality of life thing (given available resources and the fact that people dont fucking spay/neuter their cats). We could probably afford to construct huge pens where we put all the unwanted cats in and just fed them and maybe occasionally cleaned up. They wouldnt be euthanized, but they would be pretty miserable and unhealthy.

Thankfully, humans would never do such a thing! (except to chickens, cows, etc....)
posted by wildcrdj at 12:26 PM on November 10, 2010


Though in this case, it depends on the cats. Hard to tell for sure from this, but it's really not that hard to tell if a cat is stressed and miserable or happy. Would have been interesting to have someone more trained in animal behavior evaluate them.

But they actually look pretty good to me (having worked at shelters and seen the state some cats arrive in), so I'm not _too_ concerned.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:29 PM on November 10, 2010


Cats are indeed very good for relieving stress. Unfortunately they're also quite good at causing it. Not least when they bring a dismembered corpse into the living room or when they decide to crap on the bed. But on balance, the pros outweigh the cons. I miss my kitties.
posted by Decani at 1:03 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not least when they bring a dismembered corpse into the living room share their hard-won spoils with those they love or when they decide to crap on the bed communicate clearly their displeasure with the household staff.
posted by hippybear at 1:11 PM on November 10, 2010 [13 favorites]


Sort of awesome, until you get to the bit where the cats seem to be leashed a lot and confined to a cell

On the plus side, unlike many homes these cats get attention all the time from people who have nothing better to do than sit around and pet them all day. In my experience at least cats seem to get more bored and restless based on how much they can interact with people or other cats, rather than how much space they have to run around in.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:21 PM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think about all the different programs I've heard about for improving prisoners' lives over the years, many of which want taxpayer dollars for bringing prisoners to Jesus (yeah, I live in Texas). I know this program isn't tax-funded, but it's one I could gladly get behind even if it were. I can certainly believe it works, too; I remember plent of times when kitty (or ferret) affection has helped me relax and drained anger right out of me.
posted by immlass at 1:30 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


My dad told me about a program he heard of that involved prisoners training seeing eye dogs. It worked wonders for both the dogs and the prisoners.

These programs are very popular and effective.
The Prison Pet Partnership Program.

Prison PUP Program.

Liberty Dog Program.

C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs.

Inmates are training puppies to become service dogs (w/ video).

Inmates training service dogs, a winning combination (w/ video).

Other Prison-Based Dog Training Programs: Rehabilitation for Canine and Human.
posted by ericb at 1:34 PM on November 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


I can't help but be reminded of the emotional scene in the film Midnight Express when John Hurt's character (Max) in the Turkish prison finds his beloved cat hanging dead -- likely hung by Rifki.
posted by ericb at 1:44 PM on November 10, 2010


I wish my cat made my anger melt away, but he does that 13-year-old boy thing where he won't let me show affection to him if anyone could potentially witness it, leaving me to chase him around the house, crying "Why won't you let me love you? I love you so much but YOU MAKE ME FEEL SO BAD!"
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:26 PM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


My cat can be a pita sometimes, but gosh, I love her so much, and sometimes she is exactly what I need if I'm having one of those days where I want to burn everything down. So I "get" this, and I think it's awesome.
posted by exlotuseater at 4:23 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is brilliant.

The part of me that does animal rescue is selfishly rubbing her hands together and imagining a whole new market for the endless tidal wave of kittens that happens every year. Muahahahaha!
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 6:03 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have to send this link and ericb's links to my mom. She's a therapist at a maximum security prison and she would love this idea.

The grounds for the prison are filled with stray animals that have been dumped by the locals, and one cat liked to hang out in the weight room. (I don't know how she got in.) The prisoners loved her, especially when she had a litter of kittens right there in the corner -- they all called her Mama Cat. Apparently it looked pretty funny, with kittens running around a room full of huge scary-looking guys pumping iron. A few prisoners set to get out took kittens home with them when they were released.

Then Mama Cat died, and a few men cried in the group therapy sessions my mom ran. There are a few men in the prison who would not be safe around animals, but she's told me that many of the prisoners she works with are products of cruelty who have never been treated with kindness and respect, and that just a little can go a long way toward real rehabilitation in that place.

Her main goal is to prepare them for life on the outside, so she teaches them simple coping and social skills as part of their therapy. I'm sure the responsibilities and rewards of having a pet would fit right in with her program.

She took the last two kittens home with her. We call them the ex-cons, and they're the sweetest cats ever.
posted by Toothless Willy at 6:10 PM on November 10, 2010 [13 favorites]


For the people worried about the leashes and such - did you see the first part of the article where the inmates were building elaborate climbing structures for them? These seem for the most part to be well cared for cats.
posted by mkim at 7:14 PM on November 10, 2010


As the proud temporary owner of a truly lovable feral kitten, just poppin in to say "there is something about holding a cat that makes my eyes water, my lungs spasm and my forearms bleed."

That's all, gone now.

(Not gone yet, awesome post, thank you!)
posted by Ahab at 3:36 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love these kinds of programs.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:08 AM on November 11, 2010


Just makes the anger melt away? Three words: Ernst Stavro Blofeld.


posted by 0rison at 11:53 AM on November 11, 2010


Dude -- imagine what he would have been like without the cat.
posted by Zed at 1:05 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


« Older A 1963 blue police box   |   Epic Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments