What to do when the cat doesn’t come back

The Leader (Nelson) - - FRONT PAGE -

A small but fierce furore broke out on our lo­cal Face­book page last week, cen­tred around two dead cats.

One be­longed to the per­son who started the mes­sage thread.

Sadly, she had found her young son’s beloved cat, as well as some­one else’s tabby, on the side of the road near her house, and she wrote a fu­ri­ous and ex­ple­tive­laden mes­sage rail­ing against the many driv­ers who break the speed limit near her Motueka home.

She de­scribed the anony­mous tabby in case some­one else nearby was miss­ing their pet and said that both an­i­mals had been buried.

Some­one who had seen her cat be­ing hit was able to put her mind some­what at ease – he had seen the an­i­mal run across the road and then sud­denly dou­ble back, and an on­com­ing car – which hadn’t been speed­ing - had tried and failed to avoid it. The man had at­tended to the cat, which had been killed in­stantly, while the young driver of the first car was be­side her­self with dis­tress.

An up­set­ting oc­cur­rence for all in­volved, but what re­ally sur­prised me was how much flack the woman was given for bury- ing some­one else’s dead cat. What I took as be­ing a gen­er­ous and re­spect­ful action, other peo­ple scorned as nutty be­hav­iour.

So what is the pro­to­col if you find some­one else’s de­ceased pet? Is it enough to put out a post on so­cial me­dia to say what and where, and move on? How many of us would bother to door-knock if we hadn’t ini­tially been in­volved? If no owner is to be found, should you then leave it by the side of the road to let the forces of na­ture (or the con­tracted street sweeper) take its toll?

I guess ide­ally, all un­known pets would be bun­dled up and taken to the vet to see if they were mi­crochipped (Benji’s story, in this edi­tion, has def­i­nitely raised my aware­ness of mi­crochip­ping). But hon­estly, who among us would un­der­take the dis­tress­ing task of scoop­ing up some­one else’s dead an­i­mal and fer­ry­ing it across town?

Our house­hold has two beloved cats, adopted from the afore­men­tioned web­site in a fit of post-preg­nancy hor­mones. Em­bar­rass­ingly, and in­deli­bly, the shy lit­tle fe­male be­came known as Wee Miss, and her bol­shy brother Mr Pervis, be­cause of his pen­chant for barg­ing into the bath­room while it is oc­cu­pied.

We adore our cats, in that lowkey way that peo­ple do when they’ve also got small chil­dren that need reg­u­lar feed­ing and worm­ing.

If some­thing hor­ri­ble was to hap­pen to our felines, I guess I would like to know not to ex­pect them home, but I’d also like my last men­tal im­ages to be of Mr Pervis curled around my sleep­ing boy’s an­kles at the foot of his bed, or Wee Miss nap­ping con­tent­edly on the back of our sofa with her del­i­cate paws tucked un­der­neath her chest.

If there was an ac­ci­dent and we, their own­ers, were not the ones to find them, I’d be com­forted by the thought that some­one else who cared, did.


If your cat doesn’t make it home who is go­ing to let you know.

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