Laura Zoeller

Column Laura Zoeller

Laura Zoeller is a farm wife and mother who has been blessed with a wonderful and funny - life.

In Moldova, there’s an amazing cat trainer

October 21, 2013

I learned something quite interesting. There is a country in Eastern Europe called Moldova with an out-of-the-ordinary problem. The small country, which is landlocked between Romania and Ukraine, has a problem with cat smugglers.

No, I don’t mean people smuggle cats into the country. No, I don’t mean people smuggle cats out of the country. I don’t even mean people smuggle cats into the countryside to drop them off at an unsuspecting farm; although that could be an entire column of its own. I mean that in Moldova, there are cats that smuggle things – namely drugs and other contraband – into and out of their prisons.

In a recent AP article, it was announced guards at the Chisinau prison noticed a cat that routinely went into and out of the prison through a hole in the fence. They decided it was a suspicious journey for the feline and inspected the cat a bit closer. It was then they noticed a specialized collar that could hold two packages of marijuana for transport into the prison building.

This, while admittedly for the wrong reasons, is totally awesome. The cat in question was trained to travel from a neighboring village, find a hole in and climb through the fence, enter the prison, meet up with the person who knows to remove the drugs, and then follow the program in reverse.

So now I’m wondering, is the person responsible for all of this available for hire? After all, how do you train a cat to make a journey of this magnitude? I’m serious, I can’t even get my cat to cover his business in the litter box, let alone follow instructions of any kind when out of my sight.

Perhaps the prisoners have access to electric can openers they use to lure the cat inside the prison walls. That is the only noise I have ever heard any cat come toward me for. (Though I can get my cat to run and hide for a few hours by turning on the shower and calling, “Kitty, kitty!”)

And maybe more interesting is the fact this is not the first time cats have been used for smuggling purposes in that area of the world. In June, a cat in Russia was caught carrying cellphones and phone chargers into a prison. The contraband was taped to the cat – yes, you read that correctly – before the cat made his journey.

My cat can’t stand to have any foreign substance in his fur. He will stop whatever he is doing and bathe himself until even the smallest obstruction is gone. And yet, the Pied Piper of the cat world is able to get a cat to accept large amounts of foreign fur matter and still perform tricks that the world has never seen. I mean, shouldn’t he get his own show on Animal Planet or something?

If his deal with the networks falls through, can he at least be allowed to give me a pointer or two? Maybe his tips would at least work on my kids, and they would finally carry their dishes to the sink. I’d be willing to try the tape thing at least once.

Laura Zoeller can be reached at



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