This is a story that illuminates our contrasting attitudes towards the domestic cat. I’d like to comment on a cat story from Seattle. The story may, in fact, be about how people respond to emergencies and behave well in emergencies (i.e. when there is a need to pull together) but can become complacent and selfish in day to day life.
The owners of the cat in the story let their cat roam (if he had an owner). This is common in many countries and I understand the thinking behind it. However, there is a place and a time when allowing a cat to roam is careless thinking, in my opinion. At one time, for a short time, I was a careless thinker in respect of my cat and we both paid the price. Perhaps we all need a shock to pull us out of complacency.
The cat has no name so I’ll call him Rufus as he had red hair. In time honored fashion Rufus was hit by a car on what appears to be a fairly busy road. Rufus survives with severe internal injuries and lies beside the road.
A car driver and his wife (Mr and Mrs Doherty) see him on the side of the road. They stop in one lane of traffic and check Rufus. He is breathing heavily and bleeding from the mouth. He is alive but seriously injured. Rufus tries to get off the road but can’t move. These are strangers to this cat and they are very concerned for him. They are putting their own health and property at risk because it can be difficult and dangerous to park your car half on and half off a busy road and attend to an injured animal. A lot of drivers behind will simple shout at you. It has happened to me!
Then other people stop their cars. They block the lane to allow the Dohertys to attend to Rufus. One of the other drivers – there are now a good number – uses his mobile phone to find out where the nearest veterinary clinic is.
These good people, strangers to one another and to Rufus, are all concerned for Rufus’s health and well being and spend time helping while the cat’s owner is oblivious to it all. They are struggling to save his life. This is a team effort. I’d love to see this attitude more often.
The Dochertys take Rufus to South Seattle Vet Hospital near closing time. X-rays reveal internal injuries and a bill of $2000 to do necessary surgery. The decision is to euthanize and Rufus is loved during his last moments by people who had come to know him and treat him as their own.
Is a cat’s life cheap or valuable? It depends on who you are and the circumstances. There is a strange contrast in the euthanasia of thousands of healthy cats at shelters and the behavior of the people who tried to save Rufus’s life.
I wonder if Rufus’s owner (if he had one) ever found out abut the efforts of these people, who gave up their time to help a seriously injured cat. I wonder if the owner was just oblivious to it all. Perhaps he had no owner.
The original story.