Monday, October 12, 2009

A Wish

I wish there was no such thing as a feral cat. I wish every cat had a loving, comfortable home, with responsible pet parents. Because then I wouldn't leave choir rehearsal and see a scruffy tortoiseshell cat dragging her back legs behind her, in obvious pain, and terrified of the small group of people trying to help her.

We tried to catch the poor little mite, but she got under a fence (topped by barbed wire, naturally) and under some wood. Our hands were tied. I was ready with a warm blanket from my car. I would have wrapped her up and taken her to the wonderful emergency animal hospital that treated Millie last year. But that won't happen, and this little cat might very well die out there tonight, cold, alone, in pain.

No creature deserves this.

I woke up this morning slightly before my alarm clock. I was on my left side, curled in a half-fetal position. My right arm was flung across a soft, vibrating body. Harley had curled up next to my chest, and I had my arm around him in a loose hug. He was purring--content, warm, and loved by a human being that he sees as a big, funny-looking mama cat.

Harley and Millie are lucky--I tell them all the time that they won the Kitty Lotto, getting adopted by me. They are adored. There is always food and fresh water. They are warm, safe and dry. They stay inside at all times, so no other animal is going to attack them or spread some horrible illness their way. They will never be abused or hit by a car. These two cats have so very little to fear in the world. They are lucky.

But who am I kidding? I'm the lucky one. I have two cats who greet me at the door when I get home from work. They clamor for my attention, and I sometimes wonder if the ear scratches and baby-talking I give them as I settle into the apartment for the evening aren't the highlight of their day. To have two cats trust me so much, to show me such affection, is gratifying. I'm not a perfect person, and I've screwed up my share of things in my lifetime, but dammit, I'm a good pet mother.

And it just broke my heart tonight, to see this scruffy, skinny little tortoiseshell with a broken back...and to not be able to do anything for her.

Which leads me to the preachy, up-on-my-soapbox part of my post.

SPAY and NEUTER, people! There are too many unwanted cats in this world, and we can cut the problem down significantly by fixing the cats out there so they don't have litter after litter after litter...

KEEP CATS INSIDE! I don't buy the bullshit that cats have to have access to the outdoors because they're hunters. My little hunters are perfectly happy and healthy. There are plenty of spiders that come through any home, and the catnip mice? A perfect alternative. Mom's Bella "hunts" her toys, then walks through the house with them in her mouth, crying, until she finds a human to show off her "kill" to. It cracks us up, but we praise her for her contributions.

Keeping a cat inside will prevent a host of awful things: getting hit by a car (what likely happened to the tortie tonight), illnesses, and people being cruel to your beloved pet. There are assholes who sacrifice cats around Halloween.

I have to indoor-only cats. Both are healthy, happy, and incredibly sweet. They have everything they need inside my home because I have taken the time and money to make sure there are toys, scratching posts, soft places to sleep, and appropriate hiding places. They, in turn, have found the places they like--Millie, for instance, as I type this, is sleeping on top of the hard drive of my computer. It's warm, and it's near Mom. Neither one of these cats is missing anything in life.

And finally, I wish the PREJUDICE against cats would stop. They are wonderful animals, and like people, each as a unique personality and attitude. You do get snooty cats, but you also get sweet ones. A lot of sweet ones. Don't believe me? Come on over any time and meet Harley and Millie.

No animal deserves to be out there, alone and hurt. Scared of the people who want to help it. I guess my biggest wish is that everyone felt how I do about this.

1 comment:

Kristine said...

MY mother-in-law has some feral mousers. They feed them, but don't do anything else. They won't get near people. I've never seen cats so unwilling to be touched by a human.

I'm thinking we'll have to get a cat sometime. My biggest fear is the pee. My parents' house reeks of it most the time. They need to replace carpet to truly get rid of it.