|Putting on a brave face. It never gets easier to help an injured animal.|
Today was a tough Monday. I received a call from a friend. In the middle of night, a cat was found lying in the middle of street, unable to move his hind legs. Most likely struck by a speeding vehicle. This morning he was found a few feet away resting, still alive, in the garden of an apartment complex.
He was a feral, intact (not neutered) orange male cat. To test his limits as to how close he would permit me to approach him, he hissed wildly. Suddenly the cat jumped on his front paws, and like an exotic jungle animal, he gracefully lifted his hips and dangled his hind legs like ballet slippers, and proceeded to walk on his front paws with exquisite balance. I wondered if this cat was born with a defect and grew up adjusting to the lack of using his hind legs. But upon resting, his body language showed signs of pain.
|Struck cat had no use of hind legs. |
He depending entirely on his upper arms and body.
[To learn more about how we trapped him on the scene, please click here].
As I flustered through the front door of the vet clinic, the staff, on standby, stood up and rushed the cat to the back. The receptionist asked me a few routine questions: type of cat, color, male or female...As I turned, a look of mournful faces in a crowded waiting room of other customers and their pets sat solemn, studying my face. It was obvious they were waiting a long time and would wait longer. They didn't seem to mind and understood emergencies came first. Then an elderly woman asked me what happened and I explained. She asked if I knew this cat. I said no. I was helping a friend and an injured stray cat I had never seen before. She replied "if only there were more people like you". Those words were like a warm embrace that I needed. It NEVER gets easier. The pain is raw every time.
I wondered in my time of need would a stranger help me? Another client replied, "Yes he or she would. That stranger is no stranger. It has a name. Karma." My heart smiled.
The results of the xrays and examination were not hopeful and it was decided, the best decision was euthanasia. In the PTS (put to sleep) room, the technician entered information on the computer. He was thumbing through a list of cats listed as "STRAY NO NAME". No! I would not let him die with no name. Not another "stray" or another number in a litany of homeless injured city cats that died a typical death. He was not typical. Each cat is unique. Each cat has a story. Each cat has a life. He would die with dignity and a name.
|Reflecting. Final words for Karma.|
Under sedation. I stroked his forehead and lithe body. My hand over his chest, I could feel his heart beating. I was his last connection between life and death. Between earth and heaven. I would name him Karma.
Within minutes of his overdue birth name, Karma crossed the rainbow bridge.
A cat I never met.
A cat I never knew.
A cat I could not touch before today.
A cat I cried for.
I cried for Karma.
He reminded me of one of our beloved orange Riverfront cats, Lion King, but Karma did not have any caretaker. Only now, moments before his death, he had a caretaker. Karma had me, a stranger who cared.
So despite this grief, I felt a small sense of joy. I made a difference today. While not meteoric, one less innocent creature was spared long drawn out suffering. One cat did not die alone.
However, I can not accept all the credit. My friend Laurent made the initial call, a plea for help and fellow animal lovers on Facebook all rallied to help us find solutions for getting the cat into the trap, and furiously networked to find a larger rescue group or volunteers to nurse this feral cat if he could be saved. What a difference teamwork makes. Thank you all!
There are life lessons in every day incidents, even tragedy.
- Give back regularly. I live in an upscale condo community in downtown Miami and many friends and neighbors indulge in the good life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as we remember to give back. While one does not have to donate thousands of dollars, giving back regularly in some form, keeps us grounded, keeps us humble and makes us happier because only when we are grateful for what we have and kind and respectful to others, are we truly happy. Remember we can not take our fancy cars, yachts, clothes and jewelry with us when we die. Only the spirit of our soul.
- A simple act of kindness can make a world of difference. There are those who are lonely and suffer quietly. A kind word, a brief conversation can uplift their world. This reminded me when I temporarily lived with my aunt in a condo complex only for retired individuals, while I was waiting to move closer to my job in downtown. Some were sad and/or bitter because they were lonely. But as I spoke to them regularly, they smiled and looked forward to when I returned home from work, and offered me home cooked meals, just so they would have someone to talk to. I was in my late 20's at the time. Young people my age were at happy hour regularly. I went home and visited with neighbors. Today I visit with neighborhood cats.
Be aware of and kind to one another.
If you would like to make a donation to help our efforts, we gladly accept monetary funds, cat food, old towels and sheets...Each item is critical to our operations. To make a donation to help with vet bill for Karma, visit our cat site www.riverfrontcats.com and click on DONATE button.
To learn more about how to help stray cats in your community, visit our cat specialty website:
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