I really don't want to write about this because I don't like to immortalize bad things...but this is worth writing about. My grandmother always said I was "tender-hearted." I think she was right.
Last Friday night I was on my way home from work at 3:30 in the morning. Everything was dark blue-black except my headlights and the little pair of eyes shining back at me there in the road. After I saw the little cat curled up in a ball in the road, clearly still alive, I had to stop. I turned around and pulled into that lane with my hazard lights on so that no one would run over the cat again. Three thirty in the morning is when all the critters are out. It's the absolute worst time to try to drive home. Every single night I'm dodging animals in the road. I'd rather fight rush hour traffic than dodge animals. But alas, there it was. Someone rushing along this busy highway had obviously hit the little grey and white tabby cat and the poor thing was just in the middle of the road curled up, bleeding from the mouth and trying hard to breathe. Coughing up blood, meowing at me. It was just awful. It was so dark and there was no one out there but me and the kitty. I paced around for a minute. I'd just ended a 36 hour period where I'd worked 24 of those hours and I was really tired, but I could not just leave the cat. I called the local sheriff's office and asked them to come. They never did. I called the 24 hour trauma vet but they told me that if I brought the cat to them I'd have to take financial responsibility and it would more than likely cost me around a thousand dollars. Then several minutes later an off duty cop pulls over, still in his uniform. He shines his light on the cat, who has now made it to the side of the road all by itself and tells me not to give up on the little guy just yet. He might make it the cop told me, "but you need to get your car off this road because you and I are probably the only two sober people here." Three times, three different ways, he told me to get back in my car and get the heck off that dark highway. So I did. It was an awfully impossible situation.
The next morning I was still upset about the cat and I told my family what had happened. Sarah asked, "did the cat die Mommy?" I told her I didn't know. She then said, "well, it's okay Mommy - she'll just go to Heaven and be alive again!"
After Sarah's pre-school graduation ceremony (where my camera batteries died right at the start), we went back home taking the route by where I'd seen the cat. I looked all over but it wasn't there. I'm hoping it made its way back home to someone who could afford the thousand dollar vet bill...or made it to kitty Heaven the way Sarah suggested.
It's too bad the trauma vet wouldn't just help the cat. I would have been willing to pay something, but that price was outrageous. In the Emergency Room, we take whatever walks in the door - especially when you've been hit by a car! It's not the best deal for the hospital financially, but in the end it's the right thing to do - to take a legitimate someone who is seriously hurt and do our best to save their life. For a brief moment I actually considered taking the cat back to the ER where I work, but I knew I'd get some strange looks and maybe a "get the hell out of here with that thing!"
My own cat is an extension of my little family. I feed her well, I give her medicine for fleas, and she can sleep in my bed if she wants (although most days she doesn't). I don't understand how someone can hit an animal on the road and not stop - as if that life was disposable.
To make matters worse, tonight I get this email on a list-serv I'm a member of:
"Anyone looking to adopt an animal? Paulding (GA)
will be closing for construction. All animals are being
adopted out for $20 each. This includes shots, spay/neuter, and
micro-chipping. All animals not adopted by May 28th will be euthanized.
This is a great opportunity for anyone to give an animal a on life"
An animal shelter is closing for renovations and will euthanize all animals that aren't gone in 10 days time? My goodness.
I plan on making a donation to the Humane Society in that little cat's honor - hope you will too. www.humanesociety.org