Kyle was an afterthought — a necessary solution to our lonely cat, Princess Mer. In January of 2010, after living with Princess Merfor close to a year, we (naively) became convinced he was in desperate need of a friend because he was always demanding attention. We started casually browsing PetFinder.com for another cat when #CatDad spotted a ridiculous-looking cat with a perfectly shaped mustache. He flipped out and insisted that we immediately drive to this no-kill rescue, three hours away, in our unreliable car.
When we arrived at the animal shelter a volunteer fetched Kyle from the back. What emerged was a hot mess... an adorable hot mess that we knew we had to take home. But wait, there's more: Just as we were falling in love, the rescue told us he had "witnessed a murder"! Of course. Of course this ridiculous-looking cat would have this ridiculous-sounding back story.
The story goes that Kyle was being "held as evidence" by the police - evidence for a murder in which a husband killed his wife. (Note: A copy of the evidence record was even included in Kyle's adoption file.) Sadly, Kyle wasn't the only kitty taken into police custody. Kyle's former home housed 30 other cats who were also confiscated as part of the murder investigation. To add to the drama, the police were reluctant to release the cats from evidence and into the shelter's more adequate facilities.
"The murder" has always been an interesting (and ridiculous) tidbit we shared with people about Kyle. However, it wasn't until Kyle started gaining popularity on Instagram that we decided to poke around for the details. We discovered that Kyle's former mommy had suffered severe trauma to the head and that the murder had been classified as a "domestic violence fatality." It brought a sobering aspect to Kyle’s crazy image — but it also alerted us to the very important issue that there is a dire need for animal-friendly domestic violence shelters.
More than 70% of pet-owning women who enter domestic violence shelters report their batterer threatened, injured, or killed their pet.