"Touch me" she
said. "It's so easy to leave me all alone with
the memory of my days in the sun. If you touch
me you'll understand . . .
Today she let me touch
her. Her little body was trembling with fear but
I could not miss the very soft purring underneath the
thick coat of fur. The encounter was very
quick and in no time she ran back, keeping a safe
distance once again, watching me pour the fresh food
and water into the bowls.
step, step . . . her little feet
kneading at the ground as if it was a wool blanket
under her feet instead of the sandy
soil. My task done, I stopped to talk to
her for a moment. She looked at me and meowed,
her feet still kneading at the ground. She was
closed enough that I could hear her, still
purring very softly.
A little tabby . .
. kind of cute but so tiny.
Probably just out of kittenhood.
was ignorant of the problem of feral cats when I
arrived at the premises several months
earlier. I am a city woman. I was
shocked to find about three dozens cats
roaming around, looking for food after the place was
quiet and all the customers were gone. I
started to feed the cats, not really knowing how to
deal with this overwhelming situation.
animals, obviously homeless, had no one
to look after them. They were no one's
responsibility. A nuisance according to
humans around. Some looked healthy enough,
others were in need of treatment. Different
stage of growth, different colors. I began
feeding them and leaving water for them at night
before I left the premises. Some cats were
friendly enough, most likely had been someone's pet
at one time. I began the task of taming them,
well enough to get them into a carrier and
take them to be fixed.
little tabby was special to me somehow. She
had been quietly studying me at a distance for a
long time, wanting to come closer but afraid
to. I needed lots of patience with her before
I could get her into a carrier.
were almost there. . . when all of a sudden
the cats disappeared. I came in one
Monday morning and all the cats were gone. The
place totally deserted! No feline in
sight! The food dish hardly touched. I
filled the bowl again that night and the food
was still there when I came in Tuesday
was eerie! Even the old black and white cat
that everybody talked to and petted was gone.
He had been someone's pet, abandoned to fend for
asked around and someone said the cats had been shot
over the weekend. "Population Control,"
morning, blood on the side of the water bowl.
Someone was still alive and wounded.
The place was tense. I did my work, tears
rolling down my face and anger in my heart. I
wanted some answers. I wanted know the
truth. What happened? The thought of the
little tabby kept coming to my mind. Where was
she? Where were they all? Was she alive
and too afraid to come out? Did they think
that I betrayed them?
few tense hours passed . . . Everyone
was quiet and anxious at the
then I heard it. I heard a very faint meow
outside the door. I rushed out and there she
was. The little tabby. She had her face
in the bowl of food, as if trying to eat. When
she heard me, she looked up and let out a very weak
then saw her face. Part of her mouth had been
blown away. She was barely alive. Her
body had the smell of decaying flesh. It was a
miracle that she made it to the bowl of food where
she knew I would find her. It is as if she
heard my prayers and wanted to give me the evidence
I needed: Her little body riddled with
in a towel, I carried her to the nearest
veterinarian and I held her in my arms while she was
gently put to sleep. I heard her last
words . . . A very soft purr . .
. No doubt she said: "Help us,
please." Her heart
stopped beating. She was
gone. And I alone cried for the little
tabby. The little tabby without a name,
without a home. The little tabby deserted by
my request, the veterinarian took x-rays, clearly
showing the evidence. Bullet fragments from a
.22 rifle. With this evidence, still in my
closet today, the little tabby's prayers were
answered. Feral cats arriving at the
premises were never shot again as a way to control
the population. A promise was made and kept.
The Right to be recognized as a unique and important
The Right to have their individual lives cherished and
The Right to be free from cruelty and abuse.
The Right to receive aid and comfort, including food,
water, shelter, and medical care.
The Right to a fair share of public resources for the
care and treatment of companion animals.
The Right to be treated as equal members of the animal
The Right to be represented accurately and humanely by
those who speak on their behalf.
For a more detailed discussion of each of these
rights, please call The SF/SPCA Ethical Studies
(415) 554-3052, or e-mail us
at "firstname.lastname@example.org", and we'll gladly mail
you a copy.