A Letter To the Person Who Hit the Neighborhood Cat With Your Car


My doctrine is this: that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and we do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt. – Anna Sewell

Dear Mr. or Ms. Anonymous,

I’m writing because I’m concerned about you. Now, I know your life is busy, and you have plenty to worry about, but all I ask is a few minutes of your time. We are, after all, probably neighbors, and since I won’t get the chance to talk to you in person, this is the closest I’ll get.

Sometime on the evening of June 27th, your car and one of the neighborhood cats had a meeting with destiny. Your car came out all right. As for Marmelade, well, he didn’t make it. I say “Marmelade” and “he” as a guess, because I don’t know. When I was driving home late at night, I came across his body in the street. I got out to see if maybe, somehow, he could be saved. To paraphrase Dr. McCoy in Star Trek, he was dead, Jim. Nothing I could do for him other than move his body and spare it the indignity of being crushed into a bloody mess.

Now, it may have very well been an accident. Accidents happen. God knows I’ve had a few myself. What I’d like to know is why you didn’t stop to see if he were all right. Maybe you just hate cats, or animals as a whole. A lot of people do. Maybe you were too busy drinking your Starbucks latte or listening to the radio. Maybe, and I’m worried here, you were glad your car ended his life. There are so many possibilities and I won’t leap to conclusions. I won’t even judge you, because that would be wrong. Let he (or she) who is without sin cast the first stone.

I know you’re thinking that it was just a cat. Such a small life. You see so many dead squirrels, possums, rabbits, and yes, cats, on the road every day. Our planet is a damn dangerous place and it’s easy enough to get killed. Especially for animals who live in close proximity to humanity. I’m not haranguing you, sir or madam, on your hatred of animals or even your driving skills. The sad thing is that hundreds of animals, and people, die every day of everything from natural causes to out-of-control drunk drivers. Crap happens. If we cried for all those lives, there wouldn’t be enough tears.

What bothers me isn’t the fact that Marmelade is dead. The fact that’s going to bother me is that he belonged to someone. He wasn’t mine, of course…had he been, then I’d have been inconsolable. He was sleek and well-fed and active. When I came across him he was lifeless and already stiff. He’d been dead several hours. As far as I can tell, he died instantly, but I’m no coroner. I only hope he didn’t suffer.

You, as the driver, may not even care. No doubt you were on your way home from work, or maybe to visit a friend. Again, in the grand scheme of things, a cat’s life is probably next to nothing.

The question I’d like to ask is whether you ever thought to stop, for just a few moments, to see if maybe he were all right. To check if maybe, by some miracle, he might still be alive. Maybe even to ask a few of the neighbors to see if they knew whom he belonged to. God knows, if that were my pet, I’d want to know if he were gone. Better that than to discover him the next morning dead in the street.

Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m assuming. We all know what happens when we do that. Maybe I shouldn’t even be writing this letter. Silly me, getting upset over a dead cat when thousands of people are getting killed and maimed and raped this very minute.

I guess what I’m trying to ask you is to step outside your protective bubble every now and then, and have some respect for life. For Marmelade, it’s already too late. He’s at rest. For the thousands of other outdoor/feral cats and dogs like him, life is a battlefield. The ones who have a family who love them are the lucky ones.

If you’re somehow feeling a need to give back after (accidentally) taking a life, why not look into adopting a pet of your own if you don’t have one already? If you do, why not find him/her a friend? There are so many deserving pets at local shelters and, sadly, most of them don’t ever find homes. They’ll have won the lottery if you choose them.

I’m so sorry you hit this poor cat and killed him. It doesn’t make you a bad person or even a bad driver. Like I said, stuff happens. I only hope that maybe it will change you for the better and help you understand that all life is precious. That could have been your cat or dog. It could have been your child. How would you feel if someone hit a living creature you cared about and then drove off, not even stopping to see if its heart was still beating? I’m guessing you’d feel crushed.

Life is short. But it doesn’t have to be cruel. Kindness starts with you. And I know that cat, wherever he is now, understands that too.

Sincerely,

Your neighbor, Heather

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on June 28, 2011.

2 Responses to “A Letter To the Person Who Hit the Neighborhood Cat With Your Car”

  1. I feel for this fine feline!

  2. A touching piece indeed…………….

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