night I drove to the local video store along a busy six-lane
boulevard. It was dark and drizzly and the roads were vivid
with colors and reflections.
Suddenly a small shape darted from my left, quickly traversing the three
leftmost lanes right into the glare of my headlights, eyes agleam with
suprise. I thought it was a possum or a rabbit but it was a small grey
cat, a tabby. Startled by my unexpected approach it skidded to a stop,
abruptly changed direction and scrambled back in the direction it'd come
like the devil himself was on its tail.
"No harm done", I said to myself as I drove on. The little guy had
learned its lesson about cars and hopefully would be more careful from here on.
This morning I got to thinking about that little cat as I drove to return
the movie, about where it was coming from and where it mght have been
headed. One side of the street was an apartment complex and on the other
was a convienience store, so it was probably just trying to find something
to eat. It may have been someone's cat accidentally left out in the rain
or a beloved family pet that had escaped through an opened window. A
feral cat would have been a bit wiser about traffic, at least more wary,
or so I thought.
The reason I was thinking of that little cat is that I saw him again,
or what was left of him. He'd evidently attempted the dangerous trek
to find food once again, but this time he didn't make it. My heart broke
when I saw the little grey ears sticking up, almost the only recognizable
For the rest of the day I've been gripped in a strange
melancholy. Should I have done something? Could I have
done something? I realize that the
answer to both questions is a simple "No" but I
console myself with the knowledge that I provide food for strays, catch-neuter-release
those that I can and find homes for the rest, but that doesn't dull the
regret of another small life lost. Even one to which I had only the most
tangential of connections.
So where is your cat today? Snug in a warm corner of your home, purring
away the hours with a belly full of good food?
I sure hope so.