Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fluffy Goes to Boot Camp

Mom: Don't read this. You'll hate it.

Yesterday evening I went for my walk and got to pat any number of excellent dogs. On my way back to the house, I heard a horrible caterwauling, the sound of a cat in mortal terror. It was coming from an open garage across the street. I went to see what in the world was going on -- was the cat trapped under a car somehow? -- and saw a couple standing, smiling, in the garage. The wife, hugely pregnant, was holding the screaming cat.

"Are you trying to put your cat in a carrying case?" I asked, wondering why in the world anyone would try to do that with the garage door open.

"Oh, no," the woman said brightly, still smiling. "She's just scared of being outside."

"Ah," I said. We all stood there for a minute, as the cat continued her piteous wailing. Then I said, cautiously, "So, um, why is she outside?"

"Oh," the woman answered in that same cheery tone, "we're just trying to get her used to the garage, so she'll know it's safe."

With the garage door open? Huh?

"She hates going outside," the husband chimed in now, with that same Stepford affect. "She'll only go out on our balcony."

"Please don't let her out," I said, alarmed. "There are coyotes around here." Not to mention dogs and cars. "We lost one of our cats to a coyote. It isn't safe to let them out."

The couple nodded, looking suitably sympathetic, and then the woman held the cat up facing the street, and said, "See, sweetie? The cars are far away!" The cat didn't seem reassured by this (let me add that she was well fed and looked very healthy; she was just scared out of her furry little wits).

I stood there, staring at them, until finally the wife said, "Well, we'd better get inside now!"

Yes, please. And let the poor cat stay there!

What are these people thinking? Do they care about their cat's emotional and physical health? Do they even like their cat? Do they have a psychotic veterinarian who recommended traffic-desensitization therapy? Do they just enjoy tormenting animals? What the hay is going on here?

And is anyone else deeply worried about how they're going to raise their child?


  1. I can say that I would be concerned about how they will raise their child, too. The cat is safer indoors. Besides coyotes and cars, cats can get lost or catch diseases or get picked on by kids with nothing better to do. I think that some people treat animals more like accessories/novelties than living, soulful beings..."if the cat gets eaten, oh well, we'll just get another one - maybe to match the sofa..." It breaks my heart. In a couple instances, I have stepped in - kind of like Kitty Social Services - and found the cat a new home (in one case, the people were letting her go get pregnant all the time and selling the kittens). Maybe I'm out of line, but I think the cat deserves a better life. I treat my cats as if they were kids, so I think it is hard for me to understand people who don't do that.
    ..okay, off the soapbox now...

  2. Liz Lasater5:58 PM

    This upsets me. When they have a child will they hold it over a campfire and say, "See, sweetie? The fire is so far away." ? It makes me want to take the kitty away and add it to my own family.

  3. Liz -- Yes, exactly!

    Danielle -- I had that Social Services impulse too. I wonder if they're trying to give the cat a place (the garage) to get away to when the baby comes, but if so, they should introduce the cat to the garage when the door's closed. If I see it happen again, I might call FRONN or Animal Control and see what they recommend.

  4. Anonymous7:28 AM

    You're more optimistic than I am, Susan. I'm betting that once the baby comes, they are planning on making the cat live in the garage, or outdoors. I've known folks who booted the pets when the kids came.
    So sad.


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