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By Pam Burke 

View from the North 40 - Porch pirates vs. the responsible citizen: A PR issue


Last updated 9/23/2022 at 12:36pm

Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs but I love cats, too, and I feel bad that as a species cats have a continual public relations problem.

I followed this UPI headline — “Missing cat returns home, rings doorbell in New York” — to a video of exactly what the headline promised. The story goes that a family moved to Mastic Beach, Long Island, and two weeks later their cat Lily didn’t come home one night, the family feared the worst. Four days later, the cat came home to the porch and pawed at the doorbell, setting off the ring camera alert. Cue excited and relieved family.

I was all, “Aww, so sweeee— ... wait a minute.” The list of “related videos” that popped up alongside Lily’s YouTube debut shows images of dogs stealing packages off of porches and half the headlines use the phrase “adorable dog.”

How does that happen? A beloved cat returning home gets a straight up boring headline, but a dog straight up stealing your stuff is labeled adorable because it’s super tail-wagging happy to be committing an actual crime.

“Ohhh, but look, Fido is so proud of himself prancing off with that box.”

Yeah, sure. I’ll bet every human porch pirate is proud of him or herself to get away with your goods, too. No one’s giving them an attaboy, though, or a cute pun moniker like “pooch pirates.”

Admittedly, not all of the headlines outright celebrated the thieving dogs, but even the sketchy stray mutt got sympathy in the comments.

Then once you start looking at videos of dogs stealing from the porch, you get raccoons stealing food off the porch. I don’t know about you, but I would’ve pegged the masked trash pandas for being package thieves, but no videos came up for that — just one opossum stealing a package video.

I’m not really a fan of the looks of possums, but I have to say that this one had an expression of “I’m really sorry, but I have to feed my family” on its face. How can you hold a grudge over the theft — unless, of course, you’re the person who had an over-sized rodent run off with your newly delivered $90 earrings.

But you know what else likes to get onto porches? Moose in Alaska. Apparently those majestic buggers love to raid porches for pumpkins, and they leave a bit of carnage in their wake for the home owner to put aright. A few deer are caught on video causing headaches for the same food.

One of the big culprits, though? Bears. They’ll steal some big packages, but no doubt the worst thing is when they barge right past the doorbell camera to vandalize the home. Various video evidence shows them pulling everything out of the kitchen cupboards, tipping over furniture, breaking things, ripping stuff apart, keeping terrified family hostage in another part of the house, exiting through the plate glass window and more.

Bears. They ain’t all Teddys, Yogis and Smokeys, you know.

Meanwhile, you know how many hits I found on YouTube for “cat steals package off porch.”

Zero. Nada. Zilch.

YouTube’s algorithm fed me one video of a cat that steals laundry — from socks to any underbits, mittens, scarves, and more — and brings it all home to the porch. But beyond that one kleptomaniac cat, the porch videos were about: cat defends food from raccoon, cat defends food from coyote, cat defends food from fox, cat defends self from all the previously mentioned animals plus dogs. Plus a surprising number of: cat defends self from cat-knappers.

What is that all about?

While Lily was missing for four days, she was likely on a recon mission scouting the neighborhood, clocking all the suspicious characters and organizing a feline neighborhood watch program. I will formally petition a headline change to “Adorable cat returns from scouting mission to a hero’s welcome.”


Yeah, I don’t know what Lily was up to, and she probably wasn’t intentionally triggering the ring camera security, like her human said. Most likely she was trying to knock the ringer off the wall, but that’s adorable too at .


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