I witnessed something this week that stirred in me many different emotions. While I was enjoying an afternoon of fishing at Wallace State Park, a van pulled into the parking area. As hikers, picnickers and fishermen (and women) frequently use the park I didn’t think much about it. After hearing car doors slam, a man cursing and the plaintive cries of cats or kittens, three cats were hurled unceremoniously down the bank into the woods. I’m not sure if the villain’s goal was to heave them into the lake but if so, thankfully his aim was short. Stunned for a moment, I didn’t think to get the license off the vehicle before it exited the lot in a spray of gravel. The cats were terrified and wouldn’t let me approach them. They appeared unharmed – only terrified as they ran from me further into underbrush. I think they were teenagers. Older than kittens but definitely not long-in-the-tooth. I notified the Park Rangers but without more information about the culprit there wasn’t much they could do.
I was first angered that the rogue most likely was causing the death of these animals. I will never know the reason for these actions. Was it financially motivated? Difficulty affording pet food and veterinary care? A family member with allergies? Or was it ‘mistakes’ on the living room carpet? Regardless of the reason there are more humane options. As pet owners we take on a responsibility for the care of these creatures. We were the ones who chose to let them into our houses.
Next a heartbreaking realization that these cats possibly would suffer a long death of starvation or fall victim as prey to the wild animals of the forest. Would they be able to survive the snow and freezing temperatures of the upcoming winter? Hopefully they will calm down enough and somehow regain their trust of people to allow some family camping to be able to give them the home they deserve.
Then my thoughts brought me to my four cats waiting at home for me. Each one has his or her own personality. Greeting me at the front door when I arrive home. Curled up in my lap while I read or watch television. Purring softly beside me as we nap. Toby is a gray male and is the oldest followed by Max, an orange tabby. The girls are Miss Kitty, a calico and Lucy a white cat with some oriental in her.
Remember to be responsible and spay and neuter your pets.