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Of Cats and Mice

13 December 2012, 11:23

It all starts almost two years to the day, the 15th of December 2010. I was on my way to the local pub in the late evening, cornering at a bit of a speed. I caught a glimpse something on the corner but wasn’t sure, I promised myself that I would check on the way back. Three hours later I stopped at the spot, got out and went to check, what I thought I had seen was indeed there, a tiny black kitten had been dumped on the side of the road. Damn me for not stopping earlier…

Bear with me here, I know a lot of you would probably click the back arrow right now but there is a point to this. If we move on from the first incident to last week Monday, on the way to work I found another kitten, clean, well fed and tame standing near a bushy area. The problem is, it was too tame to be a bush or feral cat so how did it end up here? I’ll leave that up to you to decide… Luckily, a home was found for it quickly even though black kittens are generally unwanted. If one considers that the first incident involved the 3rdrescue kitten (she was too far gone to survive), this one was now the 14th and she was also not the last of the week. On Thursday, we (the ‘we’ I always refer to is myself and my wife) found and trapped another three feral black kittens in a deserted area but they didn’t look well at all. I took them to the SPCA the following day in the hopes that they could be treated (I offered to pay for their treatment) but I was told that they have a very slim chance. The reason for this being that they were afflicted with the highly contagious and dreaded cat flu which had spread quite considerably and this was a risk to the cattery as well as our own cats. If they had not been caught, they would’ve infected more of their population and even in death, the virus survives around the corpse for some time. If they did by some miracle make it, people generally don’t adopt black kittens and when one considers that the kennels are already full of beautiful, healthy kittens with a multitude of colours that are also unwanted, one really has to wonder what their chances really are of being adopted. In fact, healthy kittens are destroyed if not homed, imagine the harsh reality of being born into this death sentence unless some kind soul finds you cute enough to have a chance at life. They may survive this nightmare only to be put down in the end anyway. This was devastating news even though I knew the likely outcome in my heart before-hand, I still felt totally gutted. Really?!? The best mercy we can offer them is just, death? Just because this was by circumstance the ‘right’ thing to do, it doesn’t make it fair… Not at all…And this is what really gets me. To be born just to suffer and die. As I looked into their eyes for the last time I could see them being hopeful yet helpless altogether. All they really wanted was just to live and yet, this is the one thing we didn’t or can’t allow them to do. I walked out leaving my wife to sign the release forms, this scene will replay in my mind and haunt me forever. At least somebody cared about them in their short lives.

This brings me to the point, what type of world do we live in where life has become so worthless. No single one of us has the power to create life, yet we see situations like this all the time. Had these been the last three black kittens left in the world, people would have spent millions to save them, they would have been ‘worth’ something but alas this is not so. ‘Gifts’ such as these are all too common and we tend to treat these gifts with disdain. If you would dare drive into any industrial or quiet (not populated) urban area at night, there are cats all over (and the odd dog), most are born into this life of suffering and starvation, disease, rampant breeding and ultimately, death. Others have run away or become lost, some abandoned by their owners when they move or change houses, others still are unwanted gifts that have been thrown aside or discarded, left to fend for themselves.They band together in crude communities and groups, looking out for each other but this does not necessarily save them from a life of disease and suffering. I’d venture to guess that we as society are the cause of this problem, a problem which is growing with each breeding cycle.

With all the things that are wrong in our world, all the discrimination, all the arguments, all the suffering, all the poverty, all the crime, we tend to turn a blind eye. We know in our heart of hearts what the reality is but we choose to wrap ourselves up in cotton wool and pretend that all is well.You’ve got to open your eyes, what we see is merely a symptom of a decaying and selfish society, a society where you’ve got to have heart – and the guts to go with it. What we can see may not be pretty but that doesn’t make it any less true or real.

With all the ills in the world, why choose to save cats? Well, I’m sure the answer will surprise you, it’s not necessarily about the cats as such but I’m pretty sure we can all agree that we can make a difference, even if it is in a small way. This is something that I CAN do. It may not solve the problem but its helping and saving potentially hundreds of cats from ever being born into this cycle. It’s merely a makeshift plaster on an already gaping and infected wound. I’m not some self-proclaimed cat saviour, hero or good Samaritan, I’m just an ordinary person trying to make a positive difference.We all have our convictions, things we believe in, things we argue and fight over, things we are willing to die for but we also have the power to make a change. Show some humility and give a bit rather than wanting to receive or just taking all the time. Unfortunately, the mentality of taking and expecting hand-outs has become a norm rather than the exception in our society.

Not to say we are a complete write-off, there are still a few selfless people who are out there doing their part and well done to you, there are not many of you left. To the SPCA and all animal welfare organisations, your people have heart, you do remarkable things against overwhelming odds and challenges that nobody wants or has the guts to do. It’s almost certainly a very difficult and thankless job but you are still there and that says a lot.

If we cannot show kindness and mercy for such new and helpless beings, not care about life, show no regard for life, be it human or animal, can we really still call ourselves human? Can we look at ourselves in the mirror every day and be proud to call ourselves Man?

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