Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Rather Sad Cat Story

Chris Eldin's raccoon story reminds me of a story of a cat I once found. I had been on the rare double date, and we had all gone to see Pet Semetary. Now, I don't know if you've ever seen that movie, but there's a scene where the dad pulls a cat up off the pavement after it's been run over.

So after the movie I dropped everyone off at my friend's house and started to drive home. On the way out of my friend's neighborhood, I saw what looked like a white sheet blowing in the wind. Only it wasn't windy. And a few seconds later I realized it was a cat. 

I got out of the car. The poor thing had already been run over and it was trying to scramble out of my way, but it was stuck to the pavement. 

In retrospect, the most humane thing I could have done was get back in my car and run over it and put it out of its misery. But I panicked. I pulled the thing off the pavement as gently as I could, and although it didn't cry much, I know now that I really hurt it. I drove back to my friend's house in hysterics, crying and yelling on about how "it was just like in the movie." Finally my date figured out what had happened, and he graciously carried the cat on his lap (wrapped in my scarf) while I drove to my parents' house (I didn't have a number for an emergency vet or anything). The cat died on the way there. 

When we got to my folks, I woke up my dad. Mr. Omaha Nebraska, I-want-a-protected-wildlife-scene-in-my-backyard-when-we-finally-move-to-the-country. "You brought home a dead cat?" he asked incredulously, managing to make out only half of what I was saying. I was still pretty hysterical. My mom got home a few minutes later. Mom was raised on a farm and has never liked animals, cats especially. But she did the sweetest thing. She put her fingers on the cat's neck and said, "Yeah, I think she's gone." Then she got up early with me the next morning (I stayed up all night, crying) and helped me bury the cat in our backyard. She even said a little prayer for it.

This was a rather sad cat story. But you can't say I didn't warn you.


Bevie said...

You did warn me. But my romantic side kept thinking the story was going to get better. That somehow, miraculously, the cat would be all right. Sometimes reality s*cks.

That was very considerate of your mother.

writtenwyrdd said...

That is sad, but you tried to help it. Worst thing that ever happened to me is my landlord put out glue traps for a sudden mouse infestation adn left me to deal with the aftermath when I came home to find 1) glue traps in my apartment and 2) living creatures stuck to them and totally helpless.

This forced me to kill the mice and end their suffering because his response was "Just toss them in the trash." What a bastard. (I couldn't just leave them there; they were so stuck that some of them had ripped a leg off trying to get free!)

freddie said...

Ugh. That is AWFUL. I really don't get how some people can be so heartless. I probably would have gotten hysterical over that, too.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I capture bugs in the house and take them outside to set them free. I'm feeding a few local feral cats and have managed to trap, neuter and release two of the males. The female is trap shy and will take more work.

Feral cats live an average of two years. That's all. And the cats I've had as pets lived to be around 20. It's so unfair, but that's life in the harsh city where wild means endangered. That's part of why I feed them - to give them good nutrition and help them live a bit longer or less harsh lives.

Your mom loves you very much and responded to your need beautifully. I probably would've done the same as you. I know I would not have been able to run over her.

freddie said...

It's amazing to me how much I'm still affected by this story. I had a hard time writing it and almost didn't finish. I hate to see suffering, especially in a helpless animal. People who would do that on purpose, or even accidentally and then . . . just . . . drive away . . . just boggle my mind. I can see maybe on a highway where there's no time to stop, but on a neighborhood street?

Yet I'm a total hypocrite. I eat meat and dairy and wear a fur-lined suede coat in the winter when it gets bitterly cold. My other coat is down. Hmmm . . . I suspect it will be much easier to become vegetarian once I get to California.

freddie said...

Sarah, I had no idea feral cats had such a short life span. It's very kind of you to provide food and water. Most people I know just wouldn't give a damn.

When I have money again, I'm donating to the Anti-Cruelty Society.

Sarah Laurenson said...

It's been wonderful and easy to become vegetarian in CA. And it just keeps getting better. So many great restaurants. So much good food in the stores. Even a lot of the fancy dancy places here will do something vegan off the menu if you ask. And they tend to know what's vegan, what's vegetarian and what's not. There are a lot of resources on the web these days as well.

We'll take you out to a really great vegan place when you get here!

Sarah Laurenson said...

L.A. has a huge feral cat issue and is working on public funds to help trap, spay/neuter and release. There's some hitch with needing an environmental impact study or some such ridiculous thing.

There are two feral colonies two blocks from my house - both on the same street. And now we have the one started here that I'm now the 'colony queen', I suppose.

L.A. has even started relocating ferals to public building outdoor areas so that they can keep the rodent population down. They set up habitation and feeding stations for them.

I love living somewhere that cares for ferals instead of places where people think of them as target practice. One of the ferals my mom was feeding showed up with bullets in its leg. She had to put it to sleep.