What to do when the cat doesn’t come back
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.