Decades of veterinary medicine under my belt, and I still remain baffled about one big sadness: animal abuse and neglect.
Millions of animal abuse news articles, horror stories posted by animal welfare groups, seeing abuse with my own eyes — none of this helps me understand the motive for hurting an animal. I can comprehend rage that leads to hurting another human being better than understanding the impulse to harm a defenseless animal.
Case in point: This week a client made an appointment for a pair of new kitties. She had recently lost one of her cats at 17 years old, so I was happy she was renewing and rejoicing with new cats. She had a coupon for a free exam. The cats had been adopted from a local shelter. Perfect.
“I know, I know,” she said as she opened the box. “You told me never to get another Persian.”
“I didn’t exactly say that,” I said. “Just that they tend to have more medical issues than your average street-punk kitty.”
My client had had many Persians in the past, and one beautiful white Persian succumbed to a congenital kidney disease common in Persians.
Yoda happily walked out of his box. “His face isn’t that smushed in,” the client said.
Actually, it was a very flat face, a condition that leads to the typical problems of runny eyes, upper respiratory problems and the like. Yoda already had the deep tear staining making little half moons under his eyes.
But he checked out fine. I already understood why anyone would have adopted this smushy-faced, wide-eyed little clown. Internet-star adorable, he sat in front of me as if he owned my exam table. In cat-speak, he said to me, “What’s up with you, Doc?”
He had a perfect “lion cut,” his body carefully shaved, leaving a ring of fur around his face which more or less made him look like he had no neck, just face with cattitude. Cute little furry extremities looked like big mittens and a big fluffy tail. He looked like a little boy all dressed up for Halloween in his Lion King costume.
Don’t Miss: How Good Pets End Up in Shelters
Abandoned in a Park
I noticed he had been recently neutered at the shelter. This was odd. Why was this purebred cat with a great disposition at the shelter? And why hadn’t he been neutered as a younger cat?
The client explained. “He had been taped in a box in the park with 2 other Persians. And a bag of litter next to them. The shelter says it’s happened twice before.”
Now wait a minute. Three adult purebred cats, not spayed or neutered, abandoned with unopened litter and no food or water. What crackpot would do this?
“And he has the lion cut because his fur was matted down to his skin and urine-soaked.”
So disheartening, I thought, that some jerk out there has pulled this sick stunt not once but 3 times. Maybe more than 3 times. How would we know? Perhaps he or she had other Dropbox Persian destinations in the city. How sick is this?
Thrown Out Like Garbage
I can only assume that these cats had been used for breeding and, for whatever reason, they were of no use anymore and discarded like garbage.
- Not a good stud, maybe.
- The female all used up.
Whatever the reason, some sicko thought an unopened bag of litter would make up for the crime of neglect.
At least the cats hadn’t been killed.
My client told me the other 2 Persians were already placed in excellent new homes. I think it was just serendipity that the shelter worker hand-picked my client as a Persian lover. How great it is that Yoda can renew the lost Persian presence in her house.
We Have a Long Way to Go
There is no moral to this story.
It hasn’t helped me understand how any person could leave loving cats in a box to possibly die from dehydration or starvation before someone found them. But it strengthens my resolve to tell everyone who wants to purchase rather than adopt a kitty: Check out your breeder.
If you insist on buying a cat, ask to see the “cattery.” If you get any excuses — such as the males are kept “elsewhere” or they don’t have the queen anymore, or any lame stories that sound like cover-ups — don’t buy a cat there and consider reporting the breeder to the local animal inspector. The officials can decide if your suspicion is worth pursuing or not.
Don’t Miss: Kitten Mills — They Do Exist
I write this from a quaint little guesthouse in the French Quarter of New Orleans. All weekend the guests have enjoyed watching 2 little kittens frolic in the back gardens.
Who do they belong to? Nobody knows.
What is that young man in the kitchen putting out as they run to the bowl? A little milk.
Maybe they have a home; maybe they don’t.
Sometimes I feel like we’re still in the 19th century when it comes to the humane treatment of animals. Throwing kittens out on the street may be a cut above taping them into a box, but not by much.