It’s been a difficult summer for cat owners at the White Pines Mobile Home Park in Mesick. To date, nine cats have gone missing since June. With so many cats missing, people are starting to wonder if they are being removed from the park intentionally. Resident Sharon Witt alleges that someone might be purposely getting rid of them, possibly trapping them and either killing them or taking them away from the park because they consider them to be a nuisance.
Witt, a pet owner and cat rescuer, often takes in stray cats from the neighborhood of about 20 trailers. She puts up found cat flyers and holds onto the cats for at least a week so that the owners can find them. If the owner doesn’t come forward, Witt tries to get them spayed or neutered – and identifies them with a collar and a tag. She then tries to find homes for them. Sometimes these cats, in addition to some others in the neighborhood, prefer to go outside for a little while to hunt mice or go to the bathroom, but most are indoor cats. Many of the cats who have come up missing were wearing collars and name tags.
About the missing cats, Witt says, “I feel that the cats are being trapped and taken somewhere. Last year, two people were complaining about the cats getting into the garden where they planted catnip. This person began shooting at the cats and throwing fireworks at them. I do have a police report on that. This happened last summer. there was a cat that was found in a trap on someone’s desk. When their kids got home from school, they released the cat and it went home. The cat started foaming at the mouth and had seizures and died that night. It became a hush-up situation and the kids weren’t allowed to talk about it. Now this summer, I got a call from one of the neighbors saying that we have to do something about our cats before they do. Kratoes (Witt’s cat) supposedly broke a bird feeder which I offered to pay for or try to get fixed. They said it was okay – I didn’t have to do that. A few weeks later, Kratoes disappeared. A person in the park told my granddaughter that they saw these people with Kratoes the morning he vanished. Another very reliable person who works for the village also told me of a person telling him that he is trapping all the cats and taking them down to the river.” Pet Friends Magazine did speak to a resident in the trailer park who confirmed that he witnessed a neighbor in the park with traps out in July.
Witt says that Sharon Altman, the owner of the trailer park, had told Witt that she never heard of any problems with her cats from others in the park. Regarding the pet rules in the park, Altman said that outside cats and dogs need to be on a leash and that there wasn’t a consistent pet limit rule in the park – everyone’s lease if different. However, she does want all pets spayed or neutered. When Pet Friends contacted Altman about the amount of cats missing from the park, Altman said she didn’t know about all the missing cats, and only mentioning two of them she knew of who were lost. When pressed on the issue about the large number of missing cats and what might have happened to them, she said to call her attorney and the line went dead. Witt says Altman is aware of the situation and also threatened to evict Witt’s daughter after seeing a post on the missing cats on Facebook.
Without a landlord to issue a warning to the residents about what is going on, other cat owners may still be in the dark about all the missing cats and haven’t been told to keep their cats inside and protected.
Witt was told by Altman that there was a bear sighting in the area and Witt called the DNR for more information. They confirmed there was a bear sighting but said that a bear is less likely to attack cats and dogs at this time of year because they have plenty of foliage to eat, which they prefer. The only time they attack other animals is when they are very hungry. They had a crew looking for the bear but had no signs of it. There have also been no witnesses of wild animals attacking any cats nor have any residents reported seeing any deceased cats around the park.