Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Of Cats and Men

I love animals, I really believe I do. I'm a bit perplexed though at my thoughts over the last day or so and thought it would something interesting to write about.

As I may have mentioned before, we live in a townhouse development that has a couple hundred units. Over the course of a couple months we've developed a bit of knowledge of the houses and occupants in our immediate area. Things like who has dogs, what cars people own, and who and how many people live in certain houses. (The last bit of knowledge leads to questions like, "How the hell do fit that many into the house?"). On occasion during the warmer months, we'd see cats roaming around, but figuring out what home they belong to is about impossible.

Last night as we were standing outside smoking (I know, bad habit, I'm working on it). We heard a rather large meow coming from about 2 units down. We looked over and a fairly skinny (scrawny) orange and brown cat made its way over to us. It was about 20 degrees last night and has been that way for a number of nights. It was obvious the cat was cold and while not typically 'cat friendly' he did make his way over to us and start moving through our legs.

My first instinct was to walk away and back in the house. (Horrible, I know).

Of course, my wife was having none of that and was feeling extremely sorry for the cat.

Our conversation went like this:

Her: Oh, poor little kitty, it must be so cold.

Me: I'm sure it's fine, looking away from cat and wife. (Hoping ignorance would work here).

Her: But look how he's walking, he's already cold, I bet he can't find his home.

Me: I'm sure he'll find his home, cats do that all the time.

Her: Poor thing.

Me: (thinking: uh oh!)

I took a walk around the complex to see if anyone was looking for a cat, no luck there. The wife then took another longer walk to see and ask some neighbors that were outside if they knew of anyone looking for a lost cat. I followed her progress peering out the window at her. After her rounds, she came home and brought the cat in. We decided to put the cat in the basement in the dog's crate for the night. She tried calling an animal warden (advertised as 24 hours), but had no luck. I told her the best thing we could do would be to keep it over night and then she'd need to take it to a shelter in the morning. We got it some dry cereal and water, but it wanted neither and just proceeded to meow as it was locked in the cage.

I really didn't want the cat in the house and I wish I fully understood why. I definitely felt bad for the cat once I thought about it and realized that we needed to do something for it, but I had little desire to do so. My best guess as to why I wanted to ignore the problem is that it can just lead to complications. The cat could have been feral and caused a problem, bitten my wife or me, taking the time to find a shelter to take it wouldn't be a piece of cake, and once we took it in, in my opinion we at least had an obligation to get it somewhere. Pile all of those up in addition to life's regular stressors and I was able to successfully remove myself from the emotional side of it.

This isn't a post to try and defend my position, I was wrong for that line of thinking and my wife was right. While it took extra time and the cat maybe in no better situation, as the shelter she found that eventually took it, euthanizes after a period of time. At least the cat has a fighting chance for either it's owner to find it (if they are looking, which I doubt due to no collar) or for someone to adopt it. It's certainly a more humane situation then letting it freeze out in the cold.

After examination the shelter definitely felt like it was a house cat, not a feral cat. So we'll put up a couple signs in the area for it too. In truth there is a part of me that would have liked to keep it, he was very friendly, fairly young, and had a beautiful color to him, but with the additional price of vet bills, additional security deposits to the complex, and monthly rent for him, it just wasn't going to happen. It doesn't help that we already have one pet, who happens to have very buggy eyes, that I just don't want to take the chance of getting scratched up by a feline.

I'm going to have to work on the feeling issue still it seems, my decision making process in this case was devoid of emotion and it's not ultimately who I want to be. Emotionless decision making can be an extreme benefit in certain situations, but I also expect it makes you a little less human.

Good luck to the cat, and if someone in the Columbus area is interested in it, shoot me an email or comment and I'll get you the information on the cat.

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