Again last week, it happened.
The decades-old routine, the screeching of tires and brakes in the middle of the night, followed by a slamming car door. And then, in the light of daybreak, the sight of an abandoned litter of kittens in the barrow pit across the road.
This time it was just a young gray momma cat with a single scared, hissing, softball-sized fuzzball of a kitten.
Right now I am searching for that sweet spot between foul-mouthed outrage (do I have any swear words in my quiver that my editor has never heard of and I might sneak into this column?) and the immediate, kind-hearted necessity of feeding a starving animal.
Welcome to life in the country.
It’s a drill as old as domesticated cats themselves. Get a pet; be irresponsible and don’t spay or neuter said pet. Then be astounded at where baby cats come from. Then double-down on the irresponsibility and dump the whole family out in the country. Because, you know, “farmers always need cats.”
Farmers do not need your cats. We already have barns full of legions of cats from the last 1,000 irresponsible jerks who were too lazy to do the right thing for their animals and chose instead to take a drive into the country. To put it another way, our barns are already full of other peoples’ failed feline responsibilities.
My family’s homestead is “kinda” at the end of a road, which means for decades we’ve had a front row seat to this particular form of human irresponsibility. It happens so frequently that it’s a dark piece of ironic humor. My lovely mother would reminisce about the Depression Era hobos’ shorthand of a chalked “X” on a fence post – a sign that “kind-hearted woman lives here” and a stranger could count on a meal.
Through gritted teeth, my kind-hearted mother would mutter, “I want to find that chalk X and erase it.”
I think it was Gandhi who said you could judge a culture by how it treated its elders and its animals.
It’s so not my job to house and feed your cat.
Scared, hungry, abandoned by whatever “human” used to be their owners – the current saga on my deck right now is so wrong on so many levels.
If Dante’s Hell had more levels, it would be full up with the people who abandon helpless animals and expect strangers to step up and shoulder their responsibilities.
A pox on your house. May you spend your final years in a low-budget nursing home that frequently forgets to feed its residents. This is so irritating that I’ve run out of swear words. But I do still have my voodoo doll and incantations specific to idiots who abandon animals.
- But excuse me for a bit. I first have to go feed a couple of $$%5E#?!!% strange cats who just showed up on my deck.
And I then I have to look for that darn chalk X.