This afternoon was pretty depressing. A friend of mine has accumulated seven cats over the past two or three years that began with a pair of kittens she got at the humane shelter for one of her daughters. She is a hard working single mother trying to bring order back into her life and the combination of five kids and seven cats apparently became too much for her to handle.
As the number of cats reached critical levels with the recent arrival of three kittens in addition to some intermediate births she decided she had to bring the population back down to a manageable level as her house was beginning to smell like a litter box. After much agonizing she asked me to help assemble and transport some of the cats to the humane shelter as she feared damage to her karma if she did the dirty deed herself and she wasn’t sure she could go through it.
Finding the kittens in their haunts around the house and scooping them into the carrier was not difficult as they were especially trusting and curious little black fluff balls with white paws, curious to see where I taking them. I put three of them into one carrier and they began crying in scared distress in the confines of the dark enclosure. This brought their mother, a beautiful grey cat, who my friend put into two laundry baskets that had been clam shelled together with twine. The third and final cat, a graceful, black and cinnamon colored little female got put into a little cardboard cat carrier and began mewing piteously and began pawing the air holes in the carrier frantically trying to get out of the dark, cramped box.
Loading them into the car my friend thanked me for taking care of this for her and I pulled out of her driveway for the 20 minute trip to the humane shelter. I had the kittens and the small female in the backseat and the mother in the laundry basket on the front seat across from me. The kittens were now mewing in terror and I could smell that at least one had soiled itself inside the carrier. Each time the kittens mewed the mother in the front seat would call out to them in a voice I had never heard a cat use before. It was a haunting, almost human sounding contralto responding to their little cries.
The small female in the back was howling in terror and was furiously rocking the cardboard enclosure back and forth on the seat trying to get out. The beautiful mother cat stared at me with her yellow-green eyes through the makeshift cage of the laundry baskets as if she knew what was about to transpire.
I started to turn on the radio to drown out all the cries but decided that this would only scare them more. I eventually got to the humane society and turned the cats over to a very professional person at the desk named Mike. I give Mike the scrap of paper with the brief amount my friend had written down about the cats. Their names and ages and they fact that none had been fixed. As Mike went into the back with the boxes I paused and asked if I would be able to get the laundry baskets and cat carrier back as their owner needed them. I felt oddly petty asking for these pieces of plastic back as the cats were being delivered to their probable deaths.
While Mike went into the back for a moment I wandered over to the glass door and behind the glass and past a short corridor I saw the dozens of little cages holding little cats and dogs mewing and barking in a sort hushed din separated by the doors. Going back into the reception area I saw a large bulletin board with dozens of pictures people had sent in of themselves and the pets they had adopted. The joy in their faces and the happiness of their pets was almost palpable in this random montage of lives. The pets were universally well groomed and well fed and the pictures ranged from elderly ladies with their cats and dogs resting contentedly on their laps, to leaping dogs bounding around with children in a numerous backyards and families posing proudly in front of fireplaces and Christmas trees with their new friends.
As Mike came back with the baskets and the carrier he looked me directly in the eye and pointedly but politely mentioned to me that if my friend was interested there was special that week on spaying and neutering for county residents and that for 30.00. each you could get up two coupons per family worth 70.00 each toward having a vet spay or neuter your pet. I thanked him for the information and told him I would tell my friend. I took the carrier and basket out to the car and put them in the trunk. I thought about the terrified cats and the desperate kittens that were so happy just an hour ago chasing dust motes around the house and the older cats content to go about their cat lives. Now all were in mortal terror and were more than likely going to die before too long.
Not a good day for anyone or anything all in all.