HEATHER du PLESSIS-AL­LAN

Herald on Sunday - - REVIEW - Heather du Plessis-Al­lan @HDPA

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.

Mi­nor de­tail.

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.

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