Some of this may be upsetting so if you are easily upset, please do not continue further. Likewise, the upset deals with pets so if you find that hard to take, please do not read further.
You may have gathered from my posts that I am very much an advocate for animals. This wasn’t something inherited from my parents who could sometimes be lackadaisical about the pets in our house, although I suspect they were much like most of their generation.
In fact, even now, I suspect that some people are sometimes lax with their care. Pets provide us with unconditional love and trust. Unfortunately it’s that last one that frequently becomes an issue. A pet trusts us to do the right thing by them.
On Friday I had the unfortunate recognition of the outcome of that trust. A strangled cat.
The younger children in this family’s household placed a rope around the cat’s neck so they could walk it. They didn’t remove the rope. I don’t know how long the cat had been wandering around with a rope around its neck or how many times it had been lucky in its travels. The luck ended when the rope wedged underneath the tire of my parked dogmobile.
I believe that if I had happened upon the scene just minutes earlier that I could have saved the cat. These are imaginings that you have in retrospect. What I do know was that when I found it, it wasn’t moving. There was a gash in the back of its neck where it had tangled with the sharp winter bushes, although my imagination formed something much worse in conjunction with the rope around its neck. I didn’t know that the rope was placed innocently there.
I have wished that I happened upon the scene earlier with the opportunity to save the cat before its neck broke. I knew the cat. It was friendly and loving. When I was feeding a neighborhood feral cat, he was frequently there looking for a handout. I knew he hunted the birds in my yard, but he was a cat. This is what cats do. How could I blame him?
In the past couple of days I have felt disheartened. Our shelters are overcrowded with unwanted animals. Cats are far more unlikely to be adopted than dogs. I have to believe that it’s better that they are adopted by people who are lackadaisical than not at all. Is this true?
Frequently cats are left outside with the thought that it is inhumane to keep them indoors despite studies showing how much safer and kinder it is. Not to mention the side effect on the wild bird population because cats are killing machines and can decimate wild bird populations not out of need but out of instinct.
Of course, even here I struggle. I believe in Alley Cat because I think every living thing should be given a chance. A feral cat will (may?) never be tamed and adopted. A feral kitten, perhaps. Dogs are a different story altogether. My faithful companion Scout is an example of a dog not socialized (feral) until he was two years old and yet able to live a good life with training and love.
However, for cats. Adult cats are just not as easy to tame. Perhaps I’m wrong?
My experience is this: I had a very tiny kitten who was an indoor cat and I lost her two months shy of 20 years old when a tumor was found. She never had to worry about coyotes or foxes or raccoons or other cats or any of the rampant diseases that are associated with outdoor living. From her purrs and snuggles, I don’t believe that she felt I was dealing with her in an inhumane way. Also, she was under my supervision. And, always, my love.
I continue to see an awful sight. A nice cat. A sweet cat. I imagine its last moments and my stomach turns.
I don’t know how the parents dealt with telling their kids about the fate of their cat. I can only hope that it was done gently but with enough guidance that their other two cats might not achieve the same fate.
What I do know is how much I really don’t know. I can only hope that kindness is a quality we always instill and offer. This goes not only to each other but to all of the pets and other living beings in our world. May we always value the sanctity of life.