Nameless Kitty RIP

Kitty Grave

Today I drove off on my way to run in the park but unbeknownst to me, a wild kitten was hiding out in my engine. I forgot my headphones and “made the block” and saw his lifeless body in the street. I had committed kitten manslaughter. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of wanting to throw-up.

We all deal with these wild cat and dog populations throughout the city again after a brief and noticeable respite after Katrina. It’s an inner battle; to feed or not to feed. Ignore? Capture? SPCA is overwhelmed too. Be humane is all we can do.

In addition to the larger issues of how we collectively deal with the feral animal population, I just have a hard time with dead animals. I can’t look at them or else I can’t get the image out of my mind and lose sleep, it traumatizes me.

The local neighborhood kids who know me came by for their usual check-in and I explained my dilemma to the kids about not feeling right about just ignoring it until the kitty became unrecognizable mush but also my inability to pick it up. I stood with them a block away pointing at the kitten corpse, asking for their honest evaluation of the situation. They are 10 and 12 yrs old but I knew they’d direct me on the right path.

Josh said, “What would Jesus Do?” I’m like yeah, bury the kitty.

A ‘rock’ of a neighbor did the dirty work for us. She rallied, along with the neighborhood kids, they ran down the street. Together, they picked up the kitty in a bag which they simply did fast. Like ripping a band-aid off a wound.

I felt bad putting this task on them, I just can’t do this myself.

Then after a little psyche talk amongst ourselves, the kids helped me to dig a hole with pitchforks and shovels. We discussed what the word ‘denomination’ means briefly and talked at length back-and-forth about the proper depth of the grave.

We were all absolute about the fact that this kitten was for sure going to heaven but couldn’t do so if the body was still in the plastic bag. We had to get it out of the bag and into the hole without looking at it. It deserved a proper burial.

We put the bag down and agreed to spill it without looking on the count of three, but Nick still couldn’t avoid a scary glimpse of the kitten as it went in but he seemed ok with it.

In the end, we felt better because we know, as hard as this is, we had to do the right thing. It was right by the kitten and right by the residents for not having to be traumatized too. I told them it really meant a lot to me for their help with this somber task.

After we did this difficult deed, the kids and I spent the afternoon printing coloring pages off the internet and I bought them a box of crayons and some colored pencils and they went off to their evening church service which is obviously giving them some fortitude of spirit which I am benefiting from.

2 Comments so far

  1. Craig (no_craig) on May 4th, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

    Remind me, next time I see you, to relate my similar story.

    Glad you had help in dealing with this. It’s not your fault, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

  2. madrigall on May 7th, 2008 @ 10:12 pm

    I’ve seen lots of dead things over the course of my life. Kittens, beloved dogs, countless rabbits, people, and none of it was easy for me. I am a soft hearted person. It is something I am forced to see over and over again in this life.

    I realize too that there is no such thing as life without death. I’ve seen all sorts of critters squirtin’ out young: cats, dogs, people. And I don’t look at those babies and think: "Well, there’s some more gonna-be-dead-someday." Any more than I look at folks I’ve loved and think "You’re gonna be dead someday."

    But we all die. I eat dead cows and chickens all the time. I eat dead soybeans too.

    So some dead stuff doesn’t bother me all that much.

    But dead kitties. Or puppies. Or beloved friends. It is all so heart-wrenching. Hamburger, not so much.

    Thank you for putting this up. I’m glad you had the heart to do the right thing.

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