Those who live in Durham’s Walden Pond neighborhood are well acquainted with Monsieur.
“If you’re coming home from work, there isn’t a house or person Monsieur doesn’t greet,” Ryan Vigil said of his neighbor’s cat. “He’s out and about every day. Neighborhood kids go up and pet him, as well as adults.”
An indoor-outdoor cat around 11 years old, Monsieur is “just like a dog,” according to his owner, Andrea Tanody. “People here like Monsieur.”
So when the feline was discovered on the side of the road and nearing death with 15 BB gun pellets embedded in his body, his popularity led to an outpouring of condolences and ire.
“It’s just sick,” Tanody said of what happened to the cat. “It’s just sick. ... What happened is just — just cruelty beyond imagination.”
Monsieur went missing July 25 from his neighborhood, his owner said, but he managed to survive being shot with a BB gun.
Tanody, an English teacher at Lakewood Middle School, said she and her husband, Flavu Kaveczki, have lived in the Walden Pond neighborhood for seven years. They adopted Monsieur from a rescue shelter four years ago.
“In those four years, he has never before left the parkway in front of the house,” Tanody said. “He’s just like a dog.”
Last Wednesday, Monsieur went outside for his usual evening meet-and-greet, Tanody said. But he did not come trotting back home when signaled.
“I always shake a box of treats and he comes back,” Tanody said. “They’re called ‘Temptations.’”
That night, Tanody said she couldn’t sleep. She got up, went to the door and shook those treats half-a-dozen times, hoping that just-maybe he’d returned.
Her anxiety found no relief until the following day.
“Luckily, he had a microchip,” Tanody said.
A passerby spotted Monsieur lying on the side of American Drive less than a mile away from his family’s home. The person drove him to Falconbridge Animal Hospital on N.C. 54 where vets scanned an implanted microchip and called his owners.
“They told me he’d been shot at least 15 times, mostly around his head,” Tanody said.
Twelve pellets were removed from around the cat’s head and one from his abdomen, she said. Veterinarians could not remove a two pellets from the abdomen because they were too deep, she added.
“It’s just sad that humanity can do this type of thing,” Tanody said.
Monsieur was discharged from the animal hospital Sunday.
The cat is now blind, but Tanody said some vision night return in the coming weeks.
Now, she said, “I just want justice.”
Virgil and his family, who live nearby, spent about $600 on fliers that were posted on telephone poles. There is a reward for information that leads to a positive identification of Monsieur’s abductors.
As of Wednesday afternoon, donations from concerned neighbors had increased the reward offering to $820, Tanody said.
Anyone with information about the incident can email Ryan Virgil at email@example.com.