January 2006

Fear and loathing in Colorado: A cat’s view

By Hunter S. Catson

(As told to Katharhynn Heidelberg)

Your life can change in an instant— especially when it’s pretty much dependent on the good will of other creatures.

You probably don’t think a cat could comprehend that, but I do. When you’ve had as much time behind bars to reflect on things as I have, you can’t avoid comprehension. I understand that I used to have a home, where people took care of me. I was used to the food they gave me, the comfort, the playtime and the welcome pats on the head. I was used to answering to the name they gave me, Hunter. I was a tame cat, a good kitty, but now, I am just sad. You see, one day, my people left their home, and when they left...they left me, too.

I don’t know if they just suddenly forgot they had me; if they wanted to take me along and simply couldn’t find me, then couldn’t come back (oh please, please, let it be that! The alternative is unbearable!), but in the end, it didn’t matter. I had nothing. I waited outside the door every day, for a while, hoping. Surely, the female would come out, fill my empty dish, pick me up and hug me like she used to do. Surely, I’d soon be inside and warm — a fur coat only goes so far when the temps sink below zero, and as has been remarked, some things are hard to do when you are only a very small animal.

I lived up to my name, though — didn’t have a choice. Still, there are some things that hurt worse than an empty belly, and I went through them all in the next few weeks. The doubt. The fear. And growing anger. What had I done to merit this?

Then there was the ninny next door, who took five freakin’ days to figure out that I’d been dumped like a piece of decrepit furniture. She left me food twice a day, and warm water in the mornings, so I condescended to grant her this interview. Still...five freakin’ days. I could’ve died in that time.

What do people think, Hunter-cat? she’d ask, while I butted my head against her hand, desperate for her to just pick me up and take me inside. There was talk of something called a “lease” that somehow meant she couldn’t, and her own cat, whose answer to “can’t we all just get along?” is apparently a resounding “no!”

I’ll tell ya what people think: They don’t, at least, they don’t think properly. They’ve got this crazy idea that because a cat tends to be more individualistic than a dog, it means a cat is some kind of independent bad-ass that can overcome being left alone in the cold and the dark. But I am a felis domesticus. DOMESTICUS. Get it? I, and all the other cats on whom this horrible fate has been inflicted through such gross ignorance, fare little better than would an abandoned human 2-year-old. I am fundamentally helpless in the face of the elements, dogs and other predators, cars, disease and starvation.

No, for optimal survival, I must rely on you. I don’t mean to complain. And I understand that the ninny next door did her best, but I loathe her. I’d just grown to trust her when she turned on me, grabbed me, shoved me in a crate, put me in a car and drove me to a strange place, where I was put into a cage.

There are other cats here. They tell me I was lucky; that this place doesn’t practice euthanasia. I don’t know what that is. I don’t want to. And the bright spot is, we are well cared for, loved, and we get to leave our cages to play.

The people here are wonderful, but sadly, they seem to make up the minority of your species. And, how long can they tolerate being forced to solve problems created by the irresponsibility of others?

I am a cat. I like to roam a little bit. I like fresh air. I like activity. I want to be free! But I need your protection, too, and I’m praying for a human willing and able to provide the right balance. God bless.

Hunter, a thick-furred gray/ brown tabby with white chest and muzzle, and beautiful, clear green eyes, resides at the Second Chance Humane Society shelter in Ridgway. He’d be glad to instead reside at your warm and loving home; call 970-626-CARE.

Katharhynn Heidelberg writes from Montrose.