Monday, November 19, 2012

We can't save them all


People who know me, know for a fact how much I love cats. I love cats so much that I actually prefer their company rather than a human's (Abg being one of the few exceptions). Cats are so resilient - they don't whine or wail when they are sick and my (fur)kids always know when I am sad or depressed.

I just can't bear seeing strays begging for food, being covered in mange or being kicked by non cat lovers. I always wonder what the cats are feeling: are they hoping the next garbage bin they rummage through will have a morsel for them to eat and not get splashed with hot water for making a mess? Are they wondering if they'd have somewhere warm and dry to sleep at when the rain comes?

Recently, I had gone to visit a relative and had witnessed a road traffic accident. There was a body lying on a police stretcher, all covered up and bloody. Looking at the state of the Hilux, it must have been a bad one. On the way back, we witnessed this horrifying scene of three small kittens who must have rolled out from underneath a moving car and was ran over mercilessly by the other cars. The body of the man left me unmoved (after all, this was a normal scene working in a hospital) but I kept imagining the helpless kittens and still thought of them two days afterwards.

I hate going to markets because instead of looking at the produce, I am often distracted by the stray cats. Some seem pretty healthy and I am happy at least some kinds souls are feeding them. I see tiny kittens playing underneath tables, pawing at bits of string - their eyes crusted, their hip bones showing and their fur matted - and my heart goes out to them. I would look pleadingly at Abg and often he would ignore this silly wife of his; if she had her way, all the cats and kittens would sleep on the bed! I know though that he feels the same way but we also know that we can't save them all.

A few months ago, we were at the weekend market and a car was blocking our exit and as Abg was looking for the driver, I spied a little kitten just sitting with his head down by the drain. Without giving Abg a chance to say anything, I went out and scooped him up and brought him into the car. All throughout the ride home, his head stayed down and didn't make a sound. He barely fit in my palm and looked ill. Tani pulled through, thankfully and will never leave my side if he can help it.

Often I would drop by KTAJ's adoption page and pray for the cats looking for their forever home. At least the kittens are snapped up quite quickly but the adult ones are usually less popular and most of the time would just be re-released to become strays again. I wish I could take them all but I suppose I have to be realistic. If I could take care of ten cats properly, i.e. vaccinate and spay/neuter them and get treatment for whatever illness that comes - then, that is better than having 30 which are ill and mange covered - but that's just my opinion.

Yes, looking at strays can be heartbreaking but sometimes you just have to be strong and let nature make it's natural selection. It may sound cruel but that's how it has been done for all these years. So I look longingly at the small black kitten at the fish stall and tell myself, 'We can't save them all' and despite the heaviness in my heart, walk away.

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