August 22, 2011 at 12:49 PM
"Some people never realize that animals and their companions have strong bonds..."
Mary MacIntyre writes incessantly, is an avid photographer, and a classic health food nut.
Last year, my two 17-year-old cats died. They were fantastic animals who had gone through all my moods, changes, etc. every day. They were my family. Mourning takes a long time.
Last summer a wild cat whom I had known most of her life brought a litter of kittens to live under my house. I hadn't noticed until my neighbor told me. He enjoyed watching them play with his binoculars. He even gave me some money to help buy cat food on three occasions.
My family seemed to be expanding. Then one day, the neighbor declared that there would be no more money (not that I had asked for it) because the kittens were no longer kittens. Their sin was that they were between eight and 12 weeks old. We have all heard about the numerous animals who are ignored, given away or left at a shelter because they aren't little anymore. However a shiver of cold echoes through my being to witness such an abrupt change of attitude.
Two of those kittens slowly became friendly. I was able to capture the three-colored female kitten and get her spayed. One of her brothers was all ready to move in, but my own cats would not have enjoyed that. Later, I began trying to find a home for him but he disappeared. Thus by winter, I was mourning three cats.
My neighbor, a stone cold-hearted man, had more requests to divert cat traffic and I did what I could to ease his distress. In a neighborhood with many cats, yards can fill up with deposits fast. However his requests kept coming, and he convinced himself that "all my cats" (three new indoor kittens, and the three-colored cat and her remaining brother) were doing their business in his yard. (Frankly there are many more participants.)
He announced that he was going to be setting traps. He has. He threatened to trap my cats. A day later, my three-colored kitten, now one year old, disappeared. For four days now, she has been gone. She may have moved on or been killed or trapped. After caring for her for so long, her absence wells up in my heart and slowly the tears begin to flow.
Some people never realize that animals and their companions have strong bonds and injury to one causes pain to the other as well. The greatest tragedy is for those who have no connections and live within barren walls.