February 26, 2009

Anger Over a Cat Who Didn't Need to Die

Fair Warning: If you're a "oh, it's only a cat, who cares?" type of person, feel free to move on to some other blog item now.

I do my best to keep my personal life off the Net. I'm of a generation that by and large doesn't feel the same need to splatter the details of our mundane lives around for all to see Facebook-style.

But regular readers may know a couple of personal items about me -- that I ride an old Harley chopper, and that I care very deeply about animals. If there's one thing that will set me off like mercury fulminate it's abuse of animals, whether purposeful or through unforgivable ignorance.

So you can imagine my reaction when I got a call this afternoon from an old friend -- someone I've known since my UCLA days -- that his cat had died.

All animals die. But the circumstances of this death infuriated me. The cat's owner has a PhD in a hard science from UCLA from decades ago -- so one would assume that he's not a total idiot. He's made his living for many years by buying and selling collectables, mostly on eBay these days.

For months he's been planning his move from L.A. to Las Vegas, where he apparently plans to spend the rest of his life eating at casino buffets and playing poker. Today was the official moving day. His cat didn't survive the trip.

This wasn't a young cat, but she was in pretty good shape overall. I was responsible for getting my friend to adopt her years ago from an abusive home. The drive from L.A. to Vegas isn't fun, but it's not like a cross-country trek either.

There's generally no reason for a cat like this not to survive the drive -- unless you're being driven by someone whose priorities are so incredibly screwed up that they put an animal that they supposedly care about at unnecessary risk.

In this case, I've learned that the cat was packed in a cage in the back seat of the car, where it couldn't even be checked more than once midway, hours into the trip, to see if it was in any distress. This was criminal negligence. I don't even take any of my animals to the vet without making sure that I can see them the whole time to make sure they're OK -- even on a trip that lasts only a few minutes.

And the moron with a PhD didn't give the cat any water for the drive. Not one drop. "Gee, I didn't know it needed water on the trip!" I was told when I inquired.

By the time they arrived at Vegas, and finally in position for a check, the cat was dead.

It wasn't my cat -- but I feel partly responsible since I found the cat that home. I was and am livid about this. Like I said, all animals die, ourselves included, but this death was needless negligence of the worst sort.

My now ex-friend insisted that the death wasn't his fault -- "I guess her heart just gave out."

"No," I replied, "You killed her through neglect -- just as effectively as if you had choked the life out of her little neck with your bare hands." I said this to hurt. I hope it did hurt. I don't want him to ever forget what he's done.

And ultimately that's the reason for this post -- the hope that it will remind people how fragile the lives of our animals can be, and how totally and utterly they depend on us not acting like irresponsible dolts.

Anyone who can't handle that shouldn't have animals. It's really that simple -- and that sad.

Take care.


Posted by Lauren at February 26, 2009 05:33 PM | Permalink
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