They’re living beings just like us; they need to eat, sleep, breath, and drink water. They are our furry friends, and their purring is therapeutic for the mind and body. Yet in my city alone there are over a million homeless cats, most of them black, though they come in many colours.
These poor homeless cats often become wild after being abandoned to the streets, or ‘feral’. The cats get sick, get malnutrition, and in many cases die due to harsh weather conditions and a lack of food. People aren’t necessarily shown the truth of their lives and the suffering they go through.
It was two years ago now that the cat shelter opened up on my street; a blessing and a curse, and it made for some of the most interesting months of my life. Before it was ready for the public, I knew I was going to volunteer there. And I looked in the window, and a tiny black kitten stared me in the eyes. I fell in love with that little kitten.
There were a lot of sad times working at the cat shelter, when a number of the cats got FIP-a disease that kills 95% of the cats that get it, which is basically liquid in their lungs-and died, and when it was shut down. But there were a lot of good things that came out of it. I learned a lot about taking care of cats-and I walked away with two, brothers.
Volunteering in a cat shelter is one of the best things I ever did, and having my own cat is such a great thing. I love him very much-his brother disappeared, but I loved them both-and I love having the black, furry company.
Here’s a very short story, about a cat named Shadow:
Shadow was the third brother of my two kittens, but I was never allowed to take him. Disaster struck the shelter, and a number of the cats got FIP. It had been two days since I was at the cat shelter, and I walked in to see him laying by the food. I walked up to him and saw the signs of FIP-his nose was covered in snot, so he had to breath through his mouth.
Seeing him so small, six months old and half the size of his brothers, and so sick, I burst into tears. All I could do was hold him and wipe off his nose; I didn’t have the heart to force feed him. Something tells me that it was too late anyway, and all I could do was be there for him and hear his weak purring.
His little yellow eyes stared up at me as he purred weakly, and after a few minutes I couldn’t take it anymore; I had to leave, had to leave him there. The next morning one of the other volunteers walked up to me and said two words that I will never forget-that broke my heart:
More shelter stories to come, I think…