Several years ago, a family from the United States took in a cat named Gonzo from a shelter. Since then he has become the main pet of the family. His favorite activity is walking outside, and the owners decided to let him go periodically.
Later, Gonzo got an interesting hobby – bringing his owners various “gifts” from the street. He picked up everything that seemed to him unusual and creative and brought home to please his beloved owners.
“One time, maybe a few months into letting him roam, he brought home a small stunned, but still alive, bird,” Derek, Gonzo’s dad (who asked that his last name not be included), told The Dodo. “He brought it straight to the lady of the house (my wife), who saw it and screamed like someone had been murdered. It scared Gonzo (and me, and the neighbors). We set the bird outside, and it flew off after a minute or two. Gonzo seemed to take that reaction to heart because from that moment forward, the only thing he’s ever brought home is inanimate objects.”
They were coffee caps, boxes, trash – but it seemed to Gonzo that these were valuable gifts, and his hosts naturally complimented him. And the more he was appreciated, the more gifts Gonzo brought into the house! Soon the owners had a big collection of gifts from the kitty.
Soon Derek and his wife decided to put a camera on Gonzo’s collar to see where he went to get presents.
“Most days that he goes outside, he’ll bring us one or two trash gifts at some point,” Derek said. “Some days he doesn’t bring any and some days he brings us a lot. His current record is nine in one day … He brought us the centerfold from an old Playboy magazine and an old lightbulb in a box from [the storage area]. One time he brought some brand-new plumbing parts still in the plastic from a construction site. I returned those to the workers, who were a little confused when I explained how they came into my possession.”
“Gonzo is a large, strong cat and is unusually intelligent, but the results are not going to be cute or safe for all cats,” Derek said. “We don’t let our other cat, Fish, run around the apartment complex because she definitely would kill wildlife and is prone to panicking and could run into traffic. And we wouldn’t put a collar on her because she’s small and if the collar got caught, even if it’s a breakaway, it might not release. Gonzo’s never snagged his collar on anything in two years, and he’s heavy and strong, so we’re not too worried about that with him. But if enough people try this on enough cats, eventually it’s not going to go well.”