The feral cat problem is a tragic situation with little hope of ending anytime soon, but when I see a suffering animal I try to take some action. I know that feeding strays is wrong but I have fed them because they are a creature of God I should try to lessen their suffering. Such is the case this week when I saw a cat my daughter named Ishmael showed signs of an upper respiratory problem. I know those are a symptom of worse diseases like leukemia or feline HIV.
So I contacted the local shelter, brought home a trap and set it up in an effort to take the poor thing to the shelter. (And yes, I understand his fate, but such has to be balanced with his quality of life and suffering and spreading these deadly diseases.)
First night, I’m watching TV, I hear the noisy slam of the trap door and I rush out the check my query only to find…..the wrong cat. It is a beautiful long haired gray who looks all cuddly and sweet…..well she was giving me the equivalent of a good feline cussing right at the moment, but she looks like the cat from around the corner and very healthy. So I let her go, whoosh! She’s off with no looking back. I reset the trap and go to bed.
Early the next morning I hear the door clang again! “Bingo,” I think! “GOTCHA!”
Nope……same damn stupid cat.
“Really?” I say. “Really? You didn’t learn anything? Aren’t you embarrassed?” I was embarrassed for the cat; it had blown my idea of feline superiority over dogs out of the water. To get caught in the same trap twice was humiliating. I let the trap door slam noisily shut on its exit to frighten it and maybe sear this life lesson in its little brain.
I reset the trap for the next night, 4:30 am. “Bam” again! Slightly leery I go out into the early morning having already decided if it was the “Stupid Cat” I was going to leave it incarcerated until day break. OMG it is a pissed off and pissed on raccoon. The little fella had peed all over the place and things were flying ….arms, legs, tail, and cat food!
The moment it saw me it froze. I sat down to observe, because I had never been this close to a wild raccoon, and to consider my options. He was good at the staring game, not even a blink. After a few minutes he begins panting, it must really be stressed. Poor thing I didn’t want to relocate it because of the pee, plus it might be someone’s momma. So I decided to let it go too, but not until after it gave me the raccoon equivalent of the cussing that the “Stupid Cat” had given me.
After cleaning up the raccoon wee I reset the trap for the next for the next night. Again, early morning hours “Bam!” Got something again!
This was something cat horror stories are created from…..I do not know if its eyeball was in there, all that was left was a red socket. It turned its head widely, scanning with its good eye and when it saw me it exploded in a fit of hissing and screaming and paw swiping I was afraid would wake the neighborhood. I backed up to be less of a threat and after a moment it calmed down, but the head scanning was unnerving. I had a feeling it didn’t see well with the eye that was left.
It might have been a white and gray long hair Persian type but its fur was so dirty and lacking in contrast that it made me think of a ghost. It was a “ghastly ghost”, with two paws in the grave already. Its nose was scared, its ears torn; I could only think this was an old Tom, driven to the same battleground time and time again by hormones and instinct.
A towel calmed him for the ride to the shelter, and my heart was heavy, but I knew he would suffer no more.
“Jesus, lift him up to kitty heaven he is so tired and sick. Amen.”