Warning number two – this one won’t be fun to read. This post is about a recent situation of animal cruelty. Please skip it if you aren’t up for it.
My girlfriend called me yesterday afternoon. I could tell immediately, from her voice, that something was wrong. It was the same voice she used when the tornado hit North Minneapolis this last spring. It was the same voice when her daughter witnessed gunshots outside their window. I asked her if she was OK. She said no.
I didn’t hesitate. I stood up and got my coat on. I headed to her house. Fortunately, I can make it there in about four minutes. I remained on the phone with her as I sped over there.
I don’t remember what she said first. I don’t remember if she gave me the story in order or if she started with telling me that she had a cat in her back porch that had been burnt and she didn’t know what to do with it. I know she asked what would happen if we called the Animal Control unit. I know she wanted to know what would happen if we took the cat to the shelter.
I walked into her back porch and I swear to you this kitten about broke my heart. I knew by then that he was burnt, but not super badly. I didn’t know, until that moment, that the smell was enough to make anyone want to vomit. It wasn’t just the smell of his burnt fur (and possibly flesh in spots). It was burnt fur and pee and poo all wrapped up in a furry little package.
He was mostly white, naturally, but he had a huge patch of fur on his right hind end area and lower back area that was a rust color where his fur had clearly been burnt. His whiskers were all “melted”. I say melted, because it didn’t seem like they were singed, like his fur. It seemed more like they had perhaps partially burnt off and then curled up in the heat. Who am I to know though? I have never seen a cat that had been set on fire before. I hope I never have to again either.
I called a friend who was a vet tech for many years. She helped me process our choices. It was Sunday, so the Animal Control unit would not be open. The only option was seeing if we could get him to a shelter or take him in ourselves. All of us wanted to keep him. Well, all of us humans. We kept our existing pets in mind and knew that it wasn’t fair to them if we took on another animal under an emergency situation like that.
This cat was in her garbage can. Along with a ripped up paper bag. And some pee and poo.
Someone had lit this cat on fire and left it in her garbage can.
One would think that a cat, having been tortured like that, would be a bit frantic, crazed and mean even. Not this cat.
This cat was so frickin’ sweet, it was painful.
He purred. He nudged up against us. He meowed playfully.
It was heartbreaking to assimilate what had somehow happened to him. Who does something like that? Oh, yeah, a serial killer in training does that. It is so very disturbing.
We called the closest Animal Humane Society (Golden Valley) and left a message on their scheduling line. I called the main number back, knowing this was not a situation that warranted following the rules. I told the woman who answered that we left a message. I know she was going to try and get me to follow procedure initially. Until I told her we just found a cat in a garbage can that had been lit on fire. She immediately transferred me to someone else. “Can you get him here in 15 minutes?”
I said yes, as we walked out the door with him. I completed more of the intake questions over the phone while driving to the shelter.
We only had to wait a few minutes until someone helped us and we were back in the exam room with the cat and the vet tech within 5 minutes I think. She agreed with our assessment, that he didn’t seem to have deep burns anywhere and he seemed alright. He sneezed every few minutes though. She said that they will have to monitor him, that sometimes it is as late as two weeks later when potential lung damage from these situations shows up. These situations. Seriously?!? Who are these people and who are their kids that do things like this to an innocent animal?
The vet tech was great. She talked with us for a long time. We were super sad to leave him, but knew that he needed medical attention and that neither of us could afford to take him home with us. We know that, if they determine his lungs are too damaged, that they will euthanize him. And that if he checks out medically he will likely be adopted quickly.
Did I mention how sweet he was? I have had a fair number of cats over the years. And I have known countless cats. I love cats. I am the first to admit though that not all cats are super friendly or warm and cuddly. This cat. This cat was amazing. So precious.
It horrifies me to know that someone tortured him like that.
And I can still smell that sickening smell.
We are all a bit traumatized too.
I was so grateful to see his photo posted today on the website – to visually see that he had been cleaned up. You can bet I will continue to monitor what’s up with this little cat as much as possible. I did a bit of Animal Communication with him last night. It was super hard for me to do it though, I had held it together most of the day and then couldn’t stop crying when I talked with him. He promised that he is going to be just fine. I apologized on behalf of humankind and whoever did that to him.
He said they will get their due.
Maybe I will do some volunteer work at the animal shelter? If I had money to donate, I certainly would. They do some amazing work there.