A face book message from a friend told me about a cat who had been abandoned in her carrier, at a local church. Could I help? Well, no I couldn’t but I’d do my damndest to find someone who could.
With a lump in my throat at the poor person who had to leave their cat at the church, with food and litter, I set to work.
In remarkably short order, I had a wonderful offer of a foster home for the kitty. The church warden, who I spoke with was waiting for his cousin to come back from her “do” before making up her mind as to whether she could take the kitty in (yeah, I know …).
At around 5pm he called me, said cousin taking most of the day to make up her mind to say “no”. Luckily, I had an awesome backup plan.
The Stalker gave up his world cup to whiz me around to the church where I picked up one exceptionally smelly, timid cat. Along with the tiniest amount of litter in two big bags and a couple of sachets of food. He was so smelly, I debated whether he had cystitis and perhaps needed vet treatment. In the end, after talking to A, his potential foster, we agreed we would take him directly to hers.
The Stalker will tell you I am shit with directions, having trouble under pressure telling me right from my left. He is equally shit at listening to my directions so several recalibrations of phone gps went by as we tried to find A’s house. Eventually drawing up outside, I brought the kitty indoors.
A quick examination found her covered in faeces and urine, with “the biggest balls I have ever seen on a cat” said A. She was indeed a he.
We agreed that would account for the smell. I had been told he was around 5/6 but when N, A’s husband, checked his mouth, his teeth were perfect. We were basically looking at a slightly underweight, filthy 12 – 18 month old cat.
My sympathy for the owner/s declined somewhat. Covered in fleas and flea dirt, unneutered, stuffed in a carrier and left on church steps. This was not a beloved kitty given up because of the economy, as I first thought.
This beautiful, tender, timid cat was discarded like a piece of rubbish, responsibility for his welfare handed to God or God’s people. Lucky in that the churchwarden had gone in on a Saturday – without that lovely man’s commitment or his subsequent kindness, Tom could have been there until at least Sunday morning, exposed to the elements and all sorts of danger or given up to the RSPCA or Battersea, who would have killed him after seven days.
We had a go with sterile wipes – no use, he was covered in shit. A’s daughter bravely offered to wash him.
We settled downstairs with Pimms (a very grateful me) and beer (a very grateful Stalker). A and N have a doggie who has needed three operations on his leg and at the time was coming up for his fourth. And they still agreed to take a cat of unknown provenance, with any number of potential issues, on. Bless them doesn’t begin to cover it.
N the dog didn’t fancy the Stalker, who loves dogs. He accepted a cuddle from me and I got a good bolt of healing into him at the same time. A’s daughter called for some assistance as Tom was not keen on being bathed.
I popped upstairs to see a freshly washed Tom who was not too keen on his latest experience.
Their house is lovely – one of those places you go into and feel immediately at home. I could have sat there and chatted all evening but I needed to catch Pets At Home for nappies for Guin (who was by then incontinent) and the Stalker needed to go back to his football.
Pets At Home was closed and we wended our way home, hot, tired but happy at being able to help such a lovely kitty.
A and N found him a home within a day or two. Sensibly, they would get him neutered, recovered and the move him onto his new owners.
A surprise came later that week. Tom was MICRO-CHIPPED! The scenario changed a bit – was he a stolen cat (all reputable rescues micro-chip kittens), or taken on by someone and discarded when he got too smelly? Was he an old lady or man’s cat, taken on in good faith and discarded by relatives after their death?
This changed the homing option too. The vet would not operate on a cat that wasn’t theirs. I rather suspect my vet would neuter a tom brought in because of the risk to health (as well as unwanted litters) but then my vet and I have a long history and we share a common view of people who discard their animals like trash.
Petlog tried the number left on the microchip details. It rang out. With a European ringtone.
Scenario changed again – was Tom a kitty left at home whilst people went on holiday and dumped by his care-giver? Possible, but unlikely, given the obvious long-standing flea infestation.
I rather suspected his owner had moved to Europe and dumped him as an afterthought. I sent a text to the church warden – did any of the flock recently move to Europe? He was kind enough to call me back – no-one anytime in the past few months.
The regulatory week passed with not a peep from his owners. I suspect something that is all too common happened – all reputable rescues chip their kittens. If under 5 months, they get owners to sign a neutering contract. Rescues with the time and manpower follow up with secondary home checks to ensure that the neutering has taken place. I’d put odds on Tom coming from an under-resourced rescue who didn’t do a proper home check in the first place, or a secondary one, but did microchip, the details then being placed in the owners’ names.
Tomorrow, a very lucky Tom moves to his new owners, who will love and care for him for the rest of his life. He won’t ever again be discarded like trash, made to sit in his own shit for hours and hours, scared out of his mind by strange scents, traffic noises and danger he can sense but can’t see.
To his owners I have only one message: Fuck you.
Fuck you for leaving your beautiful cat like trash on a step, with him sitting and lying in his excrement with no escape.
Fuck you for letting him become flea-ridden.
Fuck you for not neutering him.
Fuck you for not picking up the phone to petlog – if you didn’t want him, the least you could do was tell us that.
Fuck you for being cowards.
Fuck you for the horrible death this beautiful, loving, young cat may well have had; had the wrong person walked by that night or morning.
I hope that, one night, late, you wake up and wonder what happened to your cat. I hope all sorts of scenarios plague your mind and leave you shivering and sleepless.
But most of all, I hope you never, ever, ever, get hold of a companion animal again.