Accidents happen. Yes they do. They are bound to because we are frail humans struggling with life. We are not robots. We are imperfect.
But, do some cat owners cover up their sloppy attitude towards cat guardianship by telling themselves that “accidents happen”? When we say accidents happen we are absolving ourselves of error. We are saying that what happened was unforeseeable and unavoidable. But was it?
A lot cat caretaking/guardianship includes foreseeing potential accidents and preventing them. A lot of cat caretaking requires the cat’s owner to be switched on. In which case less accidents happen. There has to be some risk but the risks of injury of any kind including at the vet should be absolutely minimised through thoughtful and considered cat caretaking.
There is quite a lot of decision making in being a good cat owner. And it is is not solely about accidents and injury. The sort of food we give our cat can have long term health implications. Whether we let our cat go outside unsupervised or not is a massive decision. When we buy a new home a person who also wants to have an indoor/outdoor cat should factor in the location of the home and make sure it is cat friendly. A big decision and one which can severely compromise the person’s first choice of home and location.
There are countless decisions like this. What about the decision to adopt a cat or not? That is the biggest decision and the most proactive. If the person’s lifestyle is unsuited to keeping a cat he/she should admit it to themselves rather than proceed to adopt a cat and them leave the cat for days alone becoming stressed and developing diseases such as cystitis (for example).
I am not writing about “accidents” per se but also illnesses (due to “accidents” of judgement) which can develop in a cat because the owner failed to pay due regard to the foreseeability of problems. By “foreseeability” I mean looking ahead and asking whether certain problems may develop which may have an impact on a cat’s health.
Good cat ownership demands a high standard of care based on thoughtful analysis. Owning a cat should not be entered into willy nilly. Adopting a cat should be seen as a major life-changing event and a big commitment.
When a cat owner buys something such as flowers she should ask if they are cat-safe. There are many dangers in the home. A good cat owner will question the protocol regarding vaccinations. Veterinary clinics are places where cats are meant to be healed. They usually are, of course but sometimes they are places where cats are hurt; just like human hospitals.
The mother of the four-year-old boy who entered a gorilla’s enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo causing the gorilla to be shot casually said: “accidents happen”. She thanked God for protecting her boy. For me this was not an accident and God did not protect her boy. She is deceiving herself. Hers is not an attitude which is adequate when either parenting a boy or looking after a cat companion.