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Cold Winter’s Night: Protecting Those Who Can’t Protect Themselves

November 12, 2014

Dearest neighbors:

I try to understand others. I really do. I want to see everyone’s side of a story. Despite this, I have to say you suck.


Well, let me start by asking, “On this evening, when we are supposed to have our first storm of the winter and the wind chill has already dropped the temperature below freezing, do you know where your cat is?”

No? Well, I do. She’s on my front porch — as always. Since the first cold night, she has been on my front porch, under the protective cover of its roof and tucked within the little cat house I bought to give her a safe place to sleep. It’s the same place that I keep insulated against the cold with blankets and towels from my own house, so that a cat I don’t even own can stay warm during the coldest nights.

In the past 24 hours, when it has been so cold that the water I keep on the front porch for her has frozen over, she has only left the little house when I have stepped outside to make sure she is OK. Tonight, when I opened the door, she cried as she emerged from the house, clearly understanding that the freezing temperature was going to drop even lower. I could see she was torn because she wanted in my house, but she also knew that I have cats of my own who wouldn’t welcome her.

And where are you? You haven’t bothered to come look for her. You haven’t even taken the simple step of opening your front door and calling for her. How do I know this? Because my house is literally a stone’s throw from yours. I also know if I go to you and ask you about your cat, you will make a lame attempt to come get her and then decide that it’s all too much effort. And how do I know this? Because we have been down this road before the last two winters.

So tonight, before I go to bed, I will scoop up your cat from my front porch and carry her into my laundry room, which has already been set up for her to sleep in for the night. As I do, I will be cursing you the entire time. I know I shouldn’t — after all, it’s not very charitable or understanding of me — but I won’t be able to help myself. You accepted this little animal into your life, pledging to house it and protect it, and you don’t care about her.

I do.

I care.

I can’t help it.

I believe that how you protect those who can’t protect themselves — children, pets, the dead — defines your humanity. If you can’t accept the responsibility, don’t accept the pet.

HD 08

My neighbor’s cat, who also kept me company Halloween evening, when her family was too busy having a party to wonder where she was.

From → Animals, Cats

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