Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Cat Rescue

The small black and white female cat had been dead for about 24 hours when my neighbour, her son and I investigated the overgrown wasteland in our lane. We were looking for three young kittens who'd been seen the night before wandering in the lane. Could this dead cat be their mother; she looked too small to have littered and her small nipples had not been lactating. Rigor mortis was setting in, as too the flies. A small and still-pink tongue peeped out from her mouth like a petal emerging from a rose bud. Her eyes semi-closed and dully glazed over. I know the look of death, whether animal or human; the lifelessness; the emptiness; of a body being no more inhabited by spirit, life or of blood-coursing arteries and veins.

Later, I sat among the thorns and bushes hopefully awaiting sign of hungry kittens; two dishes of fresh cat meat nearby, along with my cat basket in the hope of catching them. Some hope! If they were wild, then no-way would they come near me, starving or not; motherless or not! I pondered whether to leave when a woman from one of the few houses in this remote little hamlet walked by and glanced at me as I sat half hidden by leaves. I didn't know her, nor she me; after all, I've been a recluse for the last two years, hiding away nursing my own grief.

Embarrassed, she looked quickly away and continued walking by. I called out, "I'm not really mad, just looking for some kittens." She stopped and looked visibly relieved. "Oh, I wondered ..." she said.

I suppose it's not often one sees a woman crouched in the bushes, goodness knows what she thought I was doing! We talked for a minute or two and I left the food for the kittens.

Later the RSPCA officer came along with a kitten trap. A large cat was caught; thought to be the mother and was whisked away to be speyed, then returned to the wild shrubbery to be back with her kittens. At some point an officer will return and try to catch all of them.

The little dead cat was removed. I no longer fear death, but it saddens me and brings home the fact that we are all mortal and here for such a short spit in time and reminds me that I must get on and do something with my own short life before rigor mortis sets in.

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