HEATHER du PLESSIS-ALLAN
I’m not really sure I’m doing the right thing telling this story. I’m worried it will only perpetuate the same kind of knucklehead behaviour I’m angry at. But, I’m going to tell it anyway in the hope that it puts off at least one knucklehead.
This is a story about my cat.
On a Saturday three weeks ago, I saw a video on Twitter. I might have had a gin or two.
A colleague of my husband’s had posted the video of a wee white and tabby kitten running around a house squeaking and purring. The caption said, “Um found this very thin, hungry kitten in the forest”. This was somewhere near Rotorua. Gin makes you do silly things. I offered to take the kitten. It lay curled up in its carrier-case for virtually the whole car trip down to Wellington. I’m not sure it even did a wee.
It arrived at our house with a dehydrated, dry nose, did a poop and immediately went to sleep on a cushion it seems to have since adopted as its own.
It’s quite a funny cat. Fussy as all hell. There was a few days’ protest at being fed Whiskas, which seem not to be up to scratch. The cat won’t use the litter tray until it has been cleaned, which creates a never-ending circle of work for me.
And water does not pass the lips. A kind listener to my radio show dropped off one of those water fountains that filters and pipes the water so the cat gets tricked into thinking it’s drinking from a stream or something. Not this cat. This cat is too smart. The only option is to sneak tiny amounts of water into the bowl of cat milk.
We’ve called the kitten Gareth Morgan. It brings me no end of joy to walk around the house, calling out the kitten’s name. On windless days, I hope the real Gareth Morgan hears me. He lives a few houses up the street. Definitely within earshot.
It has proved an awkward name. Earlier this week we found out Gareth Morgan is probably a girl.
Anyway, I’m telling you all of this so you can appreciate how Gareth Morgan (the cat) has snuggled into a little burrow in the bedspread of my life. She’s happy, well fed to the point of flatulence, has a favourite toy shaped like a purple hedgehog and shows us what a crazy hunter she is by attacking the rug at bedtime.
I’m telling you this so you can appreciate how shitty it is that someone dumped her in the forest. Because, the chances are she was dumped. She might have got lost, but the local vet said it was the season of dumpings. And she definitely came from a home. She wasn’t born feral. Feral cats don’t arrive at your house litter trained and cuddling up to humans.
Perhaps you may think that dumping an unwanted kitten is the most humane thing to do. You know, give them at least a chance in life. It doesn’t work like that. The most likely thing is the kitten will die a horrible death from exposure, dehydration or starvation.
If that doesn’t happen, the kitten will hunt and kill our native birds to survive. Which is the point the real Gareth Morgan was trying to make when he advocated killing feral cats.
I worry telling you Gareth Morgan the Cat is homed and happy may be counterproductive. The next kitten dumper may think their unwanted cats will end up as happy as my wee mate. Sure, it happens. But this is the exception, not the rule.
So, don’t dump your animals. Stop being heartless. Take them to the SPCA. It’s that simple.
It brings me no end of joy to walk around the house, calling out the kitten’s name. On windless days, I hope the real Gareth Morgan hears me.