Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Cat called Henry

 I have just finished knitting 3 more barn cats and they are all sitting on my desk, here in my craft room.

 To make them seem just a little more real, I have decided to tell a story about each of them and so tonight I will introduce you to Henry.

 Now Henry was born  to a mother cat named Sarah. She was only a  year old when she gave birth to a litter of 5  kittens. Henry was  the only male and was a  rather ugly little fellow. The human fussed over Sarah and  seemed to feel sorry for her as she was so young and helpless with this her first experience at having so many mouths to feed.  She kept her warm  in a cardboard box filled with a soft blanket and little by little the young mother cat regained her strength. The kittens  grew  as well and entertained their human owner.

Sarah was a good mother and lovingly protected her babies.   The weeks passed by quickly and Henry showed signs of being rather  slow and afraid to move away  from his mother. One day as they were all nestled in close to their Mom, a stranger came to the house. She smiled and gently picked up Annie his sister and  cuddled her. He never seen Annie again and he missed her. He knew his Mom did as well  because  she went from room to room looking for her crying.  Only a few days later, another lady came to the house with her  two daughters. The little girls laughed and hugged each of the kittens including Henry, but Bess and  Laura never came back. They had been taken by the children. Again  Henry watched his Mom travel throughout the house  crying for her babies. She never did find them and Henry and Sue  snuggled even closer to their Mom, sharing their loss.

One day their owner took sick and  was taken away. She never returned and the house became very silent.  Another stranger came over to feed them and  they  watched as she sat and cried  in the big blue chair night after night. In time Henry, his sister and Mom were put into a cage and taken to a place called a shelter. He never seen his Mom and Sue ever again.   Henry was lonely and missed his Mom. He was scared and the metal cages made him shiver and  hiss  when humans approached him.   Time passed and Henry grew used to the isolation of loneliness.  He seen other cats brought in and then see them leave in the arms of loving owners.. but no  one ever looked at him. No one ever wanted to pick him up and in time he  lost his will to live. His became sick and  gave up eating. He no longer moved around in his cage . He  slept and dreamed of his Mom  and running and playing with his sisters.  It was only then that his tail twitched.

The caretakers had been watching him and he heard them say that  there was no hope for him. No one wanted him and now he was sick. They took him out of his cage and took him into another room and laid him on a table. Thinking that he was not aware what was happening,  they  walked away and shut the door intending to let the vet give him a lethal shot to put him out of his misery.

   As Henry lay there, he felt a cool breeze.  He slowly lifted his head  and felt  a whiff of  freedom. A  window was open and he knew that he had to use the last of his strength and go toward those unfamiliar sounds and smells.

Henry found his way to the old barn out behind Maggie's Raggedy Inn.  His instinct  kicked in and gave him the necessary courage and skills to fight his way back to health.  He learned to catch flies and  finally caught a small mouse which helped him develop his hunting skills.  Over the next two weeks, he travelled to the outskirts of  the city to find himself   in front of  that old barn.  Here he found other cats like him who had taken up living in the many corners of the isolated  old grey building.  Here he found hope and friendship. He shared an upstairs window with Tess, a wise old  cat who told him about life and how to make it in the big world. He shared his story and she purred with understanding, just like his mother had done. At night he lay close beside her and listened to wind blow through the old rafters. He gradually let go of his fears and knew that his  life ahead would soon be filled with the  possibility of maybe one day finding a home with humans who would love him as they had loved him and  his family a long time ago.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Homeless Cats

Here  in the Gaspe, January is always our coldest month of the year. We know what to expect and there is nothing we can do about it. Winter  coats, boots, hats, scarves and mittens are a necessity  in this climate.  Wood stoves are lit, furnaces are turned up to the maximum and  the electrical bills are high.  Such is life during the cold months and we do everything we can to keep from freezing.

Yet what about our four legged pets. Oh don't worry my cats. they are nice and warm inside, sleeping on the television or on the sofa. Rosie our dog has her own bed  and blanket. They hardly ever go outside except to do their business and then it is a rush to get back in the house.  Yes all three of them found a good home when they were abandoned.

Yet there are others who are not so fortunate, for they have been left behind and are left to try and survive the elements without any one to care for them. I found a mother cat and her maybe one of her kittens in my shed recently.  They must have been abandoned.

Sadly, I imagine that the house where they used to live, no longer opens and lets them in to its warmth. What must they think as they sit there day after day in the cold, waiting  for somone to come back and let them in ? They must remember  how warm the inside feels as the bitter winter  wind  nips at their ears and the burning sensation of flesh freezing causes them to suffer. Yet they wait because they know somone once loved them when they were kittens. They remember the warm touch of someone's human hand  that stroked their backs. They remember the laughter as they tried to chase a piece of crumbled paper that their owner threw across the floor. They remember being wanted and  cannot understand why no one lets them in anymore. They had tried to listen to all the nos of what they could do and couldn't do. They learned not to scratch the furniture. They try to remember the last time they were let out and saw the car driving away.   They remember that their owners always came back so if they waited long enough, they would surely come back again. But it was so cold waiting and they had to find shelter in an old wood shed. They would listen though just in case they returned and opened that door  to the warmth of that house.

 This is where I came in, because I own that wood shed and I know their owners are not coming back. I know the awful truth; they have been left behind  because they were not wanted. Kittens are so cute, but like all of us, they grow older and  become real cats.

 I live in a very small house and already have three animals to care for as well as a neighbour's dog whose owners are so busy with their children's lives that they forget what a dog needs... food, water, a warm shelter when it is freezing out and love and understanding.   This is what all animals need and in return they give you more love than you will ever get from any other source, for they forgive you for ever mistake you ever make. You know the old saying, don't sweat the small stuff, well animals really live this way. They do not care whether you are rich or poor, big or small, having a bad hair day or  that you just look really stupid in that crazy purple sweater.  They watch and listen to all you have to tell them. If you need a mid-day nap, they do not mind and will join you.  Eating alone, they will share your meal with you... on the floor is fine with them.  All they want in return is for you to care and love them.

 And so I began to feed them in that shed and brought out pillows and warm milk and cat food. Yet one night when it was really cold, I brought them in because  Pierre my partner said it was too cruel to let them suffer like that. So now I have 4 cats and a dog. I made an appointment to take both of them down to be fixed so there will be no more babies left  behind.  Yes it will cost money that  I do not have to spend, but I will find a way to manage.

Life is simple.... you get what you give in this world. 
Kindness matters.
Animals have feelings and a great capacity to love and trust... help make this world a kinder safer, more responsable world for them. 

 Pass on the message. Thank you!