Someone recently took advantage of a cat’s natural abilities to climb and maneuver itself into tight and forbidding spaces and tried to smuggle cell phones and chargers to inmates at a prison camp in the Komi region in Russia’s far north.
Guards “detained” the cat as it was trying to climb a fence in Komi’s Number One corrective labor camp. Two cell phones, batteries and chargers had been taped to the black and white cat’s back.
“They have foiled various attempts to smuggle banned objects into Prison Colony Number One before, but in the case of the cat, the prison colony is at a loss: nothing like this has happened in the prisonís history,” the regional prison service said.
Actually, if prison officials checked around a bit, they would have discovered that, in Russia and elsewhere, cats have been used to smuggle goods into prisons.
In November 2010, guards at a prison in the Russian republic of Tatarstan found a feral cat with 15 milligrams of heroin attached to its collar. A prisoner had been known to feed the cat and had apparently, along with other inmates, caught the cat and not given it food for some days. The cat was on its way to the prisoner’s cell when a guard found it.
According to RIA Novosti, cats have been used in southern Russia to deliver drugs to inmates,†Chris Matyszczyk writes on†CNET. Inmates who are being released leave with something extra in their bags, namely, a cat who (presumably) was living in the prison. They then hand the bags to drug dealers who in turn put drugs into the cats’ collars. The cats, seeking the place they know as home, head back to the prison.
On New Year’s Day, a cat with a mobile phone and a saw taped around its body was caught by guards as it walked through prison gates in Arapiraca in northeast Brazil. One presumes the saw was not the largest, as the cat was also carrying drills, an earphone, a memory card, batteries and a phone charger. All 263 detainees were considered possible suspects. As a prison official told a local paper, Estado de S Paulo, “it’s tough to find out who’s responsible for the action as the cat doesn’t speak.”
Prison officials in Russian and Brazile might also do well to learn about the abilities of Dusty. This cat’s neighbors in San Mateo, California have dubbed him “Klepto Cat” because, over the course of three years, he has stolen more than 600 items including shoes, childrenís toys and womenís swimming gear.
The cat caught at the Brazil prison was taken to an animal disease center to receive medical care. But as Matyszczyk says, chillingly, of the cat most recently caught in the Komi labor camp, its fate “is unknown.”
Photo via bnilsen/Flickr