To the Drivers Who Leave Cats in the Gutter
You didn’t care. You had more important things to attend to.
Had you stopped to try and help the cat, or locate the owner perhaps you'd have been a few minutes late for your meeting? Or your tea may have gone cold, like the cat you left to die alone.
But that small 10-pound ball of fluff was no match for your 1.5 tonne car, so what would be the point pulling over to check if it was ok? Who would care anyway, right? There are 8 million cats in the UK alone, who's going to miss that one?
After all, it's 'just a cat.'
But, here's what you didn't know... Just 25% of road traffic accidents involving cats are actually fatal. With 230,000 cats hit each year in the UK, that means that 57,500 of those cats could survive, if drivers stop to help. 57,500 families may not have to endure the heartache of losing a family member, or the other 25% will, at the very least find some comfort in knowing the driver did all they could for their beloved pet.
While you were preoccupied with the ‘more important’ things going on in your own world, another person's world came to a crashing halt. The reality of your actions may not have an immediate impact on your psyche, but the trail of destruction you've left in your wake is very real and you should know what's on the receiving end of that seemingly simple, yet profound, choice you made to continue driving and do nothing.
While you were feeling good about being on time for that meeting or making the dinner table on time, there will be a family that is unable to eat anything tonight, perhaps for days even.
A little girl may walk out of her house to see her best friend laying lifeless in a pool of blood while people walk past and cars drive by as if the world hadn't just fallen of its axis. She will try to reason - she's just sleeping. The vet can fix him. The sight of a cat who had been such an integral part of the family since she was just a baby. Once so full of love and light, now a cold body abandoned alongside some crisp and fag packets in the gutter.
They will run to her side, praying for any glimmer of life or hope, but already knowing in their hearts, it's too late.
That evening they will gather round freshly dug hole in the ground. The little girl's parents struggling to find the right words. But what are the right words for telling a child that someone left their best friend to die alone in front of their house? How does one explain a total lack of compassion to such an impressionable mind?
So they might gloss over it and tell her that she is going over the rainbow bridge to see her grandparents. That she is going to a good place and will be very happy there. They tell themselves this as well.
But before the cat can go over the bridge, she will need sustenance for the journey. So they place some sachets of her favourite food next to her lifeless body, now wrapped in her favourite blanket taking comfort in the knowledge that she will not be hungry in her travels.
They go back home, but it no longer feels the same. There's an eerie emptiness that was once filled with such warmth. It's not the same. How can they sleep now, with no warm ball of fluff curled up at their toes? The nights are the hardest.
It was never ‘just a cat.’ There is a now cat shaped hole in the hearts of all who loved her. She was an integral part of someone's family and her death will leave a permanent scar on the hearts of everyone in her family.
Can you spare 5 minutes now to stop the car?
If you ever hit a cat whilst driving, please STOP! HELP! REPORT!
How you respond determines the animal's fate and someone, somewhere is counting on you to care about them, even if you don't care about cats.
Please do the right thing!
*Photo's courtesy of Sprinkles family, who was recently involved in a collision by a speeding motorist who did not stop. Wording based on the true story of Sprinkles experience*