Apologies for missing Wednesday; I was distracted by a small monster, an ancient grizzly bear, and crab rangoon. These things happen.
This story was published in the October 2012 edition of “Pagan Edge.” I’ll warn you, this one is somewhat sad and unfortunately based on some real-life experiences. I’ll admit it; I have a real soft spot for animals (and currently own two black cats because superstitions be damned). So, a bit of a bummer for the entry, but I’ll try to be more lighthearted later.
A Tale of Two Kitties
Dara was at the farmer’s market finishing up her weekly grocery shopping trip when she noticed a booth that had quite a crowd. Curious, she walked up to it and soon understood the draw. There was a litter of kittens in a cardboard box.
“Free to a good home,” the farmer said.
There was an orange kitten that head-butted every hand that got near him.
“Oh, he’s so cute,” Dara said, putting her hand in the box.
He laid his head in her hand and started to purr.
“Yeah, he’s a friendly little guy.”
The kitten sneezed.
“He might have a cold or something.”
Dara withdrew her hand and wiped it off on her jeans. “Oh, I wish I could take you home,” she said to the kitten, “but I can’t afford the pet deposit or the extra twenty-five bucks for the rent.” Reluctantly, she the orange kitten behind.
She was about half-way home and at a four-way stop when she saw an orange cat by the side of the road. She pulled over and went to look at the cat.
The cat was not injured, but his face and nose were covered with mucus and he was having great difficulty breathing.
“I wonder if it can even eat?” she thought, listening to it wheeze. There was no collar or tag on the cat. She felt so sorry for it she went back to her car and pulled an old towel out of her trunk, carefully wrapped up the cat, and put it on the passenger seat.
The cat stayed calm.
She took him to the only animal hospital in the area of her small, rural university.
“Excuse me,” she said, carrying the cat inside. “Can you please help this cat? He’s very sick.”
The young woman behind the desk looked at Dara and the cat. “We can have the doctor look at him, but he’s so sick it’s probably going to cost at least three hundred dollars.”
“What?” she blurted. “I don’t have that kind of money. Can’t you get him to a shelter or something?”
“The shelter can’t take care of sick animals, ma’am,” the woman said sadly. “We can give him to the animal warden, but he’ll probably just get put down.”
Dara started to cry. She so badly wanted to help the cat, but she had no money to spare and no one close by to help her out.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, we just don’t have the resources to help stray animals. Do you want me to call the animal warden?”
Dara nodded wordlessly and sat down in one of the three chairs in the waiting room and petted the orange cat. “He hasn’t even scratched or bit me,” she thought. “I can’t take him. I just don’t have the money.”
The animal warden arrived in about ten minutes. He saw Dara’s bloodshot eyes and took the cat from her. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but understand if you had left him, he probably would have died in a few days anyway from suffocation, starvation, or dehydration. This is kinder.”
“I suppose,” she sniffled. “He’s a good cat.”
“I’m sure he is,” the warden said, and put the cat in his truck and drove off.
“It’s not fair,” Dara thought. “I’m sure he started out his life just like that orange kitten I saw this morning.” That night, she did some research to figure out what charities she could work with to try to prevent more sad stories like the orange cat.