Three cats suspected of helping owner Julia Poff mail explosive devices to former President Barak Obama and Texas Governor Greg Abbott were released from custody Thursday afternoon following questioning by federal law enforcement officers.
FBI crime lab investigators had found a cat hair under the address label on the package containing the explosives and traced it to the Poff cats. It is alleged that Ms. Poff sent the potentially deadly devices to former President Obama and Governor Greg Abbott because she was mad at them.
Muffy, Puffy, and Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud” Poff were taken from the Poff home in Brookshire, Texas, 34 miles west of Houston, Thursday around 9:00 a.m.
FBI Agent Arnold Specie, chief of the Houston Bureau, announced in a press conference late Thursday that after intense grilling, officials were satisfied the cats had no connection to any nefarious activities.
“The only thing they’re guilty of is shedding on paper their owner later used to wrap the explosive devices. You can’t fault cats for shedding.”
He said there’s no doubt these are the right cats. “The fur of all three exhibits white hair. That’s true even of Puffy Poff, who is mostly orange but has a couple of white spots on her underside.” He assured the press that DNA testing will confirm the hair belongs to one of the Poff cats.
A reliable source, speaking on condition of anonymity, however, said he’s not so sure. “They know more than they’re telling,” he said. “It’s impossible to get anything out of suspects that keep falling asleep in the middle of questioning. And every time Muffy rolled over, Specie gave her a belly rub. Specie’s always been soft on cats.”
The early morning raid, which involved a number of federal agents as well as a Houston PD Swat team on stand-by, rocked this usually quiet community to its very core.
“I could tell something was going down,” said neighbor Esther Bolliver. “I was outside watering my rose bushes when I saw these men wearing dark suits and ties crouching behind Julia’s privet hedge. One of them was holding out what looked to be a can of sardines, and saying, ‘Kitty kitty kitty,’ in a high-pitched voice, you know, like you use whenever you call cats. I thought it was Animal Control.”
Mrs. Bolliver ran inside and told her husband. “I said, ‘Bert, come outside and look,'” she said.
“I knew they was G-Men first thing,” said Bert Bolliver. “It was the fedoras gave ’em away. Animal Control don’t wear fedoras.”
Ten-year-old Jason Bolliver, who had been kept home from school with a sore throat, added that the raid was exciting. “It’s the best thing that’s happened here since my teacher had her appendix out.”
Agent Garrison Fowle (pronounced Fole), who led the raid, said capturing the cats proved remarkably easy. “The sardines did the trick. Those cats ran right over and we grabbed them and wrapped them in big terry cloth bath sheets and stuffed them into carriers. It was a snap.”
Neighbors, however, contradict Agent Fowle’s account, pointing out that the Brookshire Fire Department had to be summoned to get Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud” out of a live oak near the corner of the Poff property. It is believed she bolted because she realized the sardines were bait instead of snacks.
Agent Delbert Smits was airlifted to Ben Taub Hospital in Houston. Information about his condition has not been released, but Mrs. Bolliver observed Ben Taub has a first-class psychiatric emergency room, and she thinks that’s why Smits was taken all the way into Houston.
“By the time they got Pud-Pud down from that tree, the poor man was staggering around like he had a serious case of the fantods.”
After their release, Muffy, Puffy, and Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud” were relocated to an unspecified location.
Special Agent Fowle said the initial plan was to fly them to Washington, D. C., in the care of Agent Banks, for further debriefing, but Agent Banks put the kibosh on that, saying there was no way in hell he was going to spend one more minute in the company of “those [expletive deleted] cats.” Fowle said Agent Banks has been granted sick leave until he stops itching.
When the commotion has died down a bit, Muffy, Puffy, and Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud” will be honored for their part in the capture of their owner at a joint session of the Texas Legislature at the State Capitol in Austin and a reception hosted by Governor Greg Abbott at the Governor’s Mansion.
Former President Barak Obama announced that on their next swing through Texas, he and Michelle want to take the cats out for a catfish dinner.
“Let me be clear,” President Obama said. “Although totally and completely innocent of any crime, these cats surely had a positive influence on the perp. The activity Muffy, Puffy, and Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud” witnessed was fair and balanced, targeting both a Democrat and a Republican, and as such is the first bipartisan effort I’ve come across since my first inauguration.”
After law enforcement officers had left, neighbors expressed concern about the cats’ future welfare. The Bolliver family, noting the three felines spend most of the day sleeping on the hood of their Buick anyway, wanted to take them, but their offer was rejected.
Instead, Muffy, Puffy, and Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud” will make their home in Houston with Special Agent Specie.
Update: The White House has reluctantly announced that President Donald Trump will invite the Poff cats to a gala celebration at the White House, a huge one, huger than Obama’s fish dinner or Trump’s inauguration even. Muffy, Puffy, and Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud,” however, declined the invitation, on the grounds they will be busy that night grooming their hair.