Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The courage to meow

I left work today and took the path I've always took home, down the dimly lit corridor past the overrated waterfall and taking a left into the car park before winding my way down to the pedestrian crossing.

There was a lady having trouble with her car - she didn't seem to know how to move it it seems - and there was a gentleman there helping her by blasting his horn really loud as encouragement. The people were looking and I walked on by; the bus was gonna come and I'd hate to watch it slowly accelerate coz I know I won't be bothered to run after it.

So I take the crossing and to my left a lonely figure stood, its grey tail whipping the cool evening air, its pointy ears swiveling around listening to the first sign of threat, its small green eyes pacing about trying to spot something to eat. In front of me stood a tiny ball of fur.

There is no room for stray animals in a healthcare institution, and at the bottom of my heart I knew that the kitten's days here are numbered. I guess they'll call the SPCA and have it arrested for being alive at the wrong place, and that the SPCA will probably sterilize it and then release it somewhere else because it can't possibly go back here. I also know that it probably won't live long coz it won't have time to learn how to hunt for food coz it'll be taken under the knife and it'll take a few weeks to recover and in that time she can't eat or learn how to stay alive.

I've given her a gender, great.

So there she stood, totally ignoring my presence. In the brief moment I stood looking at her, she never even noticed I was there. Her eyes were shifting about, probably looking for food; I've never met a kitten that's not hungry.

Impulse told me to bring her home and take care of her. I had all the necessary things - litter bin, food and water tray, a good space, the need for companionship - but that would mean I had to cross my parents. While my mum would eventually relent, my dad would probably kill the cat when I go off to work.

We are cruel things, humans. Such wonderful, life-changing things we can do but so seldom do we make the effort. It would be nice to be nice, but more often than not we choose our convenience over the nice thing.

The insurance salesman in the street coming up to you with a survey; the uncle selling tissues in the hawker centre; the leaflet person standing in the middle of a crowded walkway; the old lady in the public transport; the woman loaded with shopping bags who's approaching a door; the school kid shaking his donation tin; the foreigner looking hopelessly at his crumpled map; the sales assistant who's trying to do their job; the waiter who needs to serve hundreds of different people a day... We are cruel things, even when it comes to treating our kind.

And when the chance arises to save an animal, I am stuck in the middle of the street as I make my way home. I didn't call out to her; I didn't want to set up a connection because I am powerless to help. I am selfish and I can't bear to give her hope.

I am ashamed.

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