Couple buy house with cat in attic and face unruly mob of Facebook critics

This is the full story about the cat who refused to go with her owner when she moved home. The cat’s name is Violet. The owners are Emily and Lisa Szefel. At the time I wrote about this in a previous post (opens new window) the press had scant detail. We now have the full story thanks to and it’s basically about the less than acceptable behaviour of Lisa Szefel in my opinion (based on what I read and that this is the full unmitigated story).

The Szefels moved home. They put one of their cats, Violet, who is timid, in an attic space. You can see it in the picture below. I have no idea why they did this. Why not put Violet in a cat carrier like normal people?

Violet wriggled through a hole in the attic and into the walls of the house and could not be coaxed out. The Szefels moved without their cat and the incoming couple, the purchasers, Patin and Soldo, inherited a cat! They possessed the cat temporarily but did not own her.

To cut to the meat of the story the Szefels wanted to return to their former home and be alone with Violet to entice her out. Patin and Solo were uncomfortable with this. So…

Soldo and Patin hired an expert cat catcher/rescuer, Bob Stewert to get Violet out. As Violet was coming out of her hide at night to fed and toilet, Stewert placed a one-way cat door over the hole through which Violet passed to go and feed. He informed the Szefels about it. They were pleased with the update.

The next day the Szefels created a Facebook webpage: Justice for Violet. They claimed that Violet had not been fed and was near death. She had hours to live and that Patin and Soldo were uncommunicative. In short they blamed Patin and Soldo for slowly letting their cat die of starvation.

These were untruths because it was known that Violet was feeding at night and that Stewart had hatched a nice plan to catch Violet. Patin and Soldo had asked the Szefels to communicate with Stewert who told them that Violet was feeding.

There was uproar on Facebook. The FB mob slagged-off the Szefels mercilessly. You know how it can get on Facebook. When people are anonymous the worst side of their personalities come out and bam. Mob mentality and anonymity are a dangerous combo when fed misrepresentations of the facts. TV crews came down and it became big news.

Then the Szefels appointed a lawyer, Geordie Duckler, to write to Patin and Soldo in which they threatened legal action unless they allowed the Szefels access to their home to retrieve Violet. The letter was hand delivered. Things were hoting up and all the heat was coming from the Szefels.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Stewert’s ploy proved successful. Violet had been trapped. He got quite badly scratched for his troubles but who cares. He’d done his job and done it well. Stewert, Soldo and Patin took Violet to the Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter for a controlled handover!

For Patin and Soldo it must have been a kind of nightmare but the Szefels see it very differently. They said:

“We are in awe of the outpouring of love and support from total strangers,” Emily Szefel wrote after Violet’s return. “You have renewed our faith in humanity.”

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

6 thoughts on “Couple buy house with cat in attic and face unruly mob of Facebook critics”

  1. The Szefels are guilty of animal abandonment.
    They shouldn’t have a leg to stand on in any court and should never get Violet back.

    1. I sorta feel that way too. My pets would be the first thing moved not the last. However unless the new house owners want her Violet could end up in a shelter situation. Perhaps most annoying of all are the hoards of FB attack artists who jumped on this mess without taking the time to hear both sides of the situation. The only victim in this is Violet.

  2. I wiped the monster DVM responsible for killing Kitten all over the internet. Still do. But I had the facts before the first post.
    FB is one of the few formats where you can aggressively go after animal abusers and shut them down online and many times in real life. (taking a bow).
    The majority of animal abusers are never taken to task let alone prosecuted. I firmly believe in the court of public opinion for these people.
    Sometimes it even forces the authorities who should have been on the case in the first place to take action.

    As to Violet her owners have no credibility because they put their cat in the very situation they are now wailing about. There is no evidence that even the owners could have coaxed her out. A professional set up a situation where she could be apprehended and safely returned to her owners. Although I’m not sure that was a good idea either luckily common sense is not a requirement for either being a parent or a pet guardian.

    1. Well you were ahead of me on this occasion. I don’t really have enough time to search FB intensively. If you find interesting stuff ME, please tell me in a comment. I need another pair of eyes.

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