9 years up tree or just cat scam: feline mystery continues to baffle

Years pass and the feline mystery of Bartoszyce, a town in the northeastern Warmińsko-Mazurskie province, Poland, continues to baffle not just the townsfolk but also scores of wonder-hungry tourists. How did the cat get there and does it really never come down his narrow and yet perfectly homely arboreal sanctuary?

As with many a great legend, the cat is nameless, and as has many times been proven, names often fail to encompass the true grandeur of such extraordinary beings. The Cat, and that is a capital “C” for you, has already made a splash in the world of mass media and the Internet.

His Feline Highness, contrary to commonly held belief, is far from aloof. The tree-dweller displays an unusual abundance of tolerance for the wide-eyed gazes of awe-struck spectators, being magnanimous so as to allow them to adore him (from afar) and even take pictures of him. It is natural for a cat of his status and repute to demonstrate an appropriately apparent dose of self-respect, especially so when the rumour has it that he has never come down his tower for nine years.

Given the proverbial saying that a cat has nine lives, this might put the legend under question. However, given the lack of credible data on whether the Cat has gone through the unpleasant calamity of slipping down from the tree, and if he did, how many times, it can be assumed that the Cat has remained in the tree hollow for all that time.

If one gives credence to the legend told by the locals, the Cat was born there by his cat mom along with his fellow kittens. And yet the Cat was unable to follow his family down the tree and so he remained in his cradle. Ever since the tree became the Cat’s domain and a true microcosmos. It also seems that there is enough space up in the branches to swing a cat.

Others say that the Cat was born an every-day cat and that it was a dramatic flight with a dog or another threat that propelled him up the tree trunk into hiding. But calling the Cat a feline hermit would be a glaring misnomer. This is because people bring food to him in the great kindness of their hearts.

However the Cat got up the tree, he surely knows that it is the curiosity that killed the cat and therefore he stays happily put. Attempts of compulsory eviction went south and even the fire department hoisted a white flag. It is said that his adamant unflinchingness earned the Cat popular sympathy. Every now and then the Cat sees humans bringing food in baskets, others climb up the ladder and put hay in its subcelestial lair so that he can get through winter just fine. Some townsfolk enjoy a bit of laughter saying that he has snuggled down up there pretty decently.

Just a cat scam?!

Romantic a legend as it is, veterinarians shake their heads in science-backed doubt.

“If people peep into the Cat’s tree hollow and find no poop there and none are to be found around the tree itself, this means that the Cat has to go down the tree, after all, to do his thing,” Renata Nieradka of the Warmińsko-Mazurski University’s Veterinary Clinic in Olsztyn reasons, adding that “he also must bury his faeces and urine as to avoid drawing predators’ attention. Once done, he climbs back up the tree.”

Should one believe the voice of reason, the scientific expertise and call the Cat a cleaver fraudster? The scientific take puts the Cat in a bad light and exposes him to accusations of laziness. But are not all cats playing on humans’ thoughtless adoration and endearment? And even if the Cat goes down the tree after sunset, all cats are grey in the dark, even such a cool cat.

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