David Prather, On the Wild Side
As published in: THE TITUSVILLE HERALD, Titusville, Pa.
If you read this article, then the anniversary of the Twin Tower's
disaster has passed and you, like me, can be thankful that we have these
much less serious matters to consider.
Lacey and I are at the computer together. Lacey is curled up in my lap purring like a motorboat. Lacey is a lucky girl. She and I want to share a story with you. We both feel you need to listen.
The moon had drifted behind some clouds that brought no rain. From the barn I heard the screech of tires on Cherrytree Road. I darted outside expecting to see a deer wrapped around someone's fender, but no car was visible. Moments later, it sped off, and seconds afterwards, its headlights came on. The car disappeared into the night and l resumed doing my chores. Soon another squealing of wheels drew my attention, once more, to the highway. A pickup had stopped at the same intersection. Several figures had exited and were chasing something into the ditch. Before I retired for the evening, similar incidents played over and over.
Whether one of those first vehicles dumped Lacey and her companions, I have no way of knowing. What I do know is those eight-week-old kittens deserved better than the hard road they were about to discover.
When I investigated the site in the morning, seven or eight kittens were sunning in the middle of the busy street, oblivious to the danger. By noon a passing oil truck reduced the survivors by one.
By evening a hawk carried another to a nearby pine and disappeared in its branches. After several days on the roadside jeopardizing themselves and passing motorists, the cats migrated into my cornfield. At that time period, I was concerned that my field corn might not survive without an immediate shower. No rain came, however, and those kittens became more dehydrated with each passing day. Several times they rejected my offers of food and my observations made it clear they had no inclination to catch the field mice in the grasses or the birds raiding my sunflower patch.
After a week of abandonment, I took water to them and poured it into a bowl. The frightened kittens rapidly emerged from their nightmarish field of dreams at the sound of splashing water. I caught three of them over several days in my Hav-a-Heart trap. By then the others had vanished. At first lively, these babies were now sickly and emaciated. The vet treated one for roundworms and then we discovered they also were hosts to tapeworms. More treatment followed.
We don't adopt cats just because someone is too lazy to spay or | neuter. Or too cheap to drive to the pound where the felines at least have better odds of finding a good home than at the side of a road.
This time was the exception to the rule because my wife's cat, Sis, had just passed away from old age. Sis's passing had broken Yvonne’s heart. I thought Lacey might bring back her smile. It was love at first sight. Magic and Maurice are now awaiting adoption.
Permit a word to those who so lightly take the responsibility of owning a cat. Spay or neuter every cat you don't want to produce offspring. Literally millions of cats are destroyed or abandoned in America every year. All true cat lovers agree that it would be far better that those cats were never born than to face such a horrible fate.
Jesus said “seek and you shall find.” You can find the resources to have your cats spayed or neutered. Our city has a great new thrift shop, Second Chance, that supports the pound. Your quality donations to them also give many animals a second chance to find a responsible owner and a good home.
Every little kitten deserves more than dying from hit and run, thirst, disease and starvation. Right Lacey?
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