Reader Cursed on Ethics, Cats, and Lizard Gods

Regular readers know I feed feral and stray cats. (I love all kinds of animals, but cats tend to be the easiest animal to help in a city.) I’ve had a few instances where I think: this was an unqualified success, but for the most part, all I’m doing is keeping some of these animals alive for a little bit of time, until they get hit by a car, die of exposure, or I can do nothing more for them as a result of a move. Such is life.

But there is a calculus of aid… time, money, and resources are limited. Which leads to this e-mail sent by reader Cursed:


Ethics, cats, and lizard Gods.

A stray cat wondered into my life, and a terrible calamity befell her recently, which eventually cost her a leg. The vet tried. Poor little kitty peed blood for over a week, endured surgery, a cast, a gangrenous foot, amputation, finally she was required to wear a plastic cone around her neck for ten days to prevent her from chewing the stitches. That came off two days ago.

Now she weebles and wobbles and growls a lot. It looks like she will get used to only one rear leg, but she is not very happy.

Kitty’s great passion in life was hunting and laps. Her little world was filled with blue bellied lizards. They didn’t have a chance against Kitty. They’d often seek safety in the oak trees, but kitty was an intrepid climber. Kitty might have got her foot hung up in a tree and struggled. I’ll never know for sure.

I wonder if I did the right thing. Next door another stray cat just had a litter of kittens. Their fate is mostly likely a short life. My kitty has suffered greatly the last six weeks, now she looks to the future as a cripple. Should I have just put her out of her misery and rescued a kitten?


This one was by reader Cursed.

If I might add something (and I’m not a poetry kind of guy, but some poems have stuck to me), here’s The Red Wheelbarrow by The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams…

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white