Cat owners across the globe are worried about a growing famine of catflaps. Until recently two plants produced over 80% of worldwide demand for catflaps. The plants in Serbia & China have now almost ceased production.
During last Aprils' crisis in Kosovo the plant based in the northern suburbs of Novi Sad was crippled by NATO bombers. "We really made the rubble bounce, those guys won't be turning out catflaps any time soon" boasted General Wesley Clarke the day after the raid. Intelligence sources believe the plant had close links to Serbian top brass and Slobodon Milosovic in particular (himself the owner of seventeen persian cats). Western countires expected to then get their catflaps from China, after the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade furious diplomatic efforts were needed to ensure China maintained her exports.
However, now even the Chinese source of catflaps has dried up.The Chinese centre of catflap production at Tai-chi in Yunang province was put out of action by flooding on the Yangtse river. The manager of the plant, Mr Chiang Sok-Shop, said "The plant was submerged within hours. We had over one million flaps ready to export to Felixstow, the flaps are designed to float and our staff in boats rescued several thousand but most were swept away". Mr Sok-Shop estimates it will take over a year to get production back to near normal levels.
The shortage is leading to cat owners taking desparate measures to get hold of the flaps, a Pets at Home store in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire recently took delivery of over 50 of the coveted flaps, within hours the store was besieged and ugly scenes soon developed. Eventually police arrived and restored order using CS spray, 7 arrests for public order offences were made.
Criminals are cashing in on the shortage. Across the country hundreds of people have been shocked to discovered there catflaps stolen. Sheila Borman from Braintree was one such victim, "I came home from shopping to find the entire door missing, police tell me the door would have been taken to a backstreet workshop to have the catflap removed" sobbed Sheila.
Tony Blair is demanding action and has formed a task force led by Ron Mael, keyboard player with the seventies band, the Sparks.The PM has however indicated he won't be lifting the controversial "flaptax". Ron believes the Rover plant at Longbridge can be converted to become an emergency production centre within 3 months. Until then Britains cat owners will have to put up with opening and closing the front door at the whim of their cosseted cats.
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