We put my mother’s 16-year-old cat, Hazel, to sleep on Saturday. It was rough. We’re going to miss her.
The emotions I have had since range from a deep guttural sadness to a quiet desperation.
Moments before we put Hazel down, I caught sight of one of the many “cutesy” signs the vet had hanging in the waiting area. It featured a dog holding a sign that read: “I like cats. They taste like chicken.”
There is a time and a place for a sign like that, maybe. That place is not a veterinary clinic and the time isn’t seconds before putting a cat to sleep.
But that sign set me off.
After we put Hazel down, I spent an unhealthy amount of time irrationally trying to figure out how I can personally put an end to all animal suffering, specifically when it comes to the abuse of felines. It’s not that Hazel was abused – quite the opposite. Hazel had a great life, she was pampered with human food, cradled with love, scritched. Hazel was happy.
Seeing her leave this world knocked the wind out of me. While she lived a great, easygoing 16 years other cats were abused or ignored. I’ve always known this, but somehow since Saturday it has crippled me. The weight of it is suffocating. (I am not going to link to any hideous fodder filled with stories of animal abuse. Just know that here in New York, we have a fair share of horror.)
What can I do? What can we do?
I love animals, but cats hold a special place in my heart. Yet for many people and for whatever reason cats seem to be the easiest animal to hate. I read recently that while there is an even number of cat lovers to dog lovers out there, for whatever reason people who hate cats, really, really hate them. People who aren’t fond of dogs simply ignore them. Cats are abused more often, neglected, and for whatever reason truly despised by more people.
That said, I think it’s OK that my loyalty lies with the felines.
I thought about starting The Murray Fund, where every last cent goes to cats in need. But then I get overwhelmed by the possibilities. There are just SO MANY animal groups out there who need attention.
Where would The Murray Fund go? Would it go to the group responsible for keeping him alive when he was a kitten? Should it change every month? Would I even collect anything?
The idealist in me wishes I had the power to spay and neuter every stray and feral cat alive. I’d make sure that every shelter cat be given a warm home, and I’d mercilessly destroy anyone who knowingly and deliberately abuses or tortures another living creature. I know that doesn’t make me a very good human, but I’m tired of being afraid to speak my mind.
I’m writing today out of that quiet desperation I mentioned earlier. What can I do to make sleeping easier?