Stray cats suffer a lot: Their round eyes, full of life and fear, tell you so. Always running away from everything, in the shadows, these dirty bodies tell you; those same bodies that stay cold on winter nights when they can’t find shelter. Vulnerable to hate from neighbors, traffic, extreme temperatures, poisons, disease, hunger, thirst. Condemned to survive on the margins of the asphalt of our cities.
The hard life of stray cats: Years of experience tell you. Years of experience tell you that…
Wonderful experience and experience of a lifeguard…
Those round eyes filled with a fear no one understands tell you. I have dealt with hundreds of them throughout my life. Newborn cats, orphans, stray cats, abandoned cats, those who were let go and those who were still fighting to stay… and I always did everything I could for them, even on occasions when I had to settle for the worst of comforts.
For the less fortunate, I could only accompany them on a journey of no return, knowing that it was perhaps the kindest gesture they had ever encountered in their life.
I’ve lost count of how many cats I’ve taken off the streets to give them good homes, how many feral cats I’ve cared for and cured throughout my life in hope to have softened a little their suffering during their passage in this world.
I raised other mothers’ kittens with the same love and dedication as I would my own. I felt the loss of each of them when they left or when I lost track of them. I suffer when I go to look for them in the garbage cans. I suffer when it rains, when it’s cold, when I know they are sick, when I know they are threatened, when we leave them without turning around so as not to be seen, when we try to hurt them . When I smell poison.
It’s something you’re taught on the street: you never get used to it. The heart never gets used to it. The suffering of others is always tears. It’s still just as unbearable.
These are the ones that are not returnable. Those who will never find the warmth of a home because they were born without it. Those who never expect anything because they have nothing. Because they have nothing, they have no rights in our system. Those whom society renders invisible, harasses, repudiates, condemns.
Those who are captured and taken to the hell of the kennels to see and feel themselves die. Those who pay with their lives for a neighbour’s stupid complaint, with impunity and the complicity of institutions and those who consent to it. As if killing could be legal.
These are the stray cats, the misnamed vagabonds. Those that are not returnable. You may not be able to see them, but they are, perhaps, the only real thing.