Sadly, I was forced to abandon cats at a shelter 24 years ago. Back then, I was young and naive and truly believed that shelters helped animals. After all, I had adopted a kitten from one.
Before you curse me, please understand that this is a very hard thing to say. My mother passed away and I was left with the care of her beloved cats. I am not sure how many there were at that time.
My husband decided to move in with his brother and sister-in-law to help ease the financial burden for both families. She was pregnant at the time with their first child. All of us could save money and our rent would only be $100/month rather than $300 which sounded nice since Mike, my husband was going to college out of town. But I didn’t like the idea at all. Something told me “NO!!!” but I didn’t listen. I had no way to prove my argument. We moved in with Ann and Chuck the first of December.
My husband insisted that I could NOT take the cats with me. I was allowed to keep my cat (the shelter rescue) and three of my mother’s cats because he didn’t feel that these three would be adoptable. It broke my heart, but I had to decide between the oath that I had taken before God or give my mother’s cats to a shelter for adoption. I believed that I made the right choice. I believed that the shelter would find homes for them just like my shelter baby found a home with me.
There were two shelters near us. One was about 30 miles away and the other was possibly 20. I chose the closer one, Richmond County Animal Shelter (RCAS).
I believed that shelters were there to help animals, so I reluctantly loaded them all up in my car and we drove them to the shelter. It was a very unpleasant experience. The shelter staff kept asking me over and over why I was surrendering them. I told them the cats belonged to my mother who died and we had to move and couldn’t take them with us. They were all adults and spayed/neutered except one. They were so trusting.
I have thought about them over the years and wished things could have been different. I would have loved for them to stay with me and live out their lives together. But believing that they found homes, my conscience was not bothered.
Although a piece of me died that day because I took my mother’s cats there. I have been haunted with nightmares since then because I broke a promise to my mother. I have even cried myself to sleep thinking about them. I feel like a horrible monster. I founded Save Our Paws to try to help save other cats, both from declawing and from kill shelters.
Fast forward to today: A couple of years ago, I found out from a friend who was an Emergency Medical Technician that the shelter I surrendered my mother’s cats to had an agreement with the local EMS training hospital. They sent live cats to the hospital so that EMTs could learn how to properly handle trauma patients, accidental amputations, and severed arteries. They used LIVE animals to amputate limbs in order for these students to learn how to close blood vessels and stop bleeding in trauma patients. I presume that the cats were killed when they ran out of limbs. I do not know if these poor cats were kept asleep the entire time they were at the hospital, but I doubt it. I don’t know for certain that any of my mother’s cats ended up there, but my heart says they did. None of them were little kittens. They had all been fixed.
I pray that those cats and my mother are able to forgive me because I can not forgive myself. I feel as though I committed a great sin. I have even prayed for forgiveness. I know God will forgive me and comfort me someday. I guess it is not yet time for my sorrows to be comforted. Soon, I hope. I am so tired of carrying this horrific burden of guilt. That is the only reason I broke down and shared with you.
I know that most of you who read this will think “Good! You deserve to feel that way!” I completely understand how you feel. I just pray that none of you are forced into the same situation because it is not worth it to me.