Traverse City Record-Eagle


To Keep our Humanity we have to be Humane

Cathy Stripe LesterLast week someone shot my cat Kato with a pellet gun. When we couldn’t figure out why he seemed half-dead, the vet did an X-ray which revealed a gun pellet lodged deep in his chest wall. He had been shot at point-blank range, right between the shoulder blades, so the shooter had to be standing directly over him, probably when Kato was trustfully rubbing against their leg.

Kato's X-ray. You can see the little round pellet at the far left of the picture.

I’m not anti-gun. (How could I be, with my taste for wild game?) And if I had to choose between living as a wild deer or as a battery-farm hen, I’d take the life of a deer without a second’s hesitation.

But no hunter I know thinks that shooting a beloved pet at point-blank range is either manly or sporting. I still wonder why they did it.

The X-ray doesn't show the fur. This is his winter fur coat, even more fluffy than usual.

There’s nothing about cruelty to animals in the Ten Commandments. But God gave us a conscience, and over the years we’ve gradually banned bear-baiting, cock-fighting and some fairly bizarre animal sacrifices. Spaniards are even re-thinking bullfighting(!)

If an adult shot Kato, they had to know what they were doing, but a child might not realize they were doing much harm. If it were my kid, I’d want to have a gentle but firm talk on the subject of the heartache that comes from seeing your kitty in great pain.

For anyone who wants to dismiss it as a kid’s prank, I wouldn’t. Children who are allowed to mistreat animals have a distressing way of developing other anti-social habits. No family, no town needs more of that. To keep our humanity we have to remember to be humane.

Kato is on the mend, but he isn’t back to his active, friendly self yet. My heartfelt thanks to the friends who have expressed their sympathy.

Wottcha looking at? -- why NOT curl up in the bathroom sink?

  • Bobdisqus

    CSL, sorry to hear of your pet’s mistreatment. I hope he continues to recover. We can wish for a section reserved for those that would do such in one of the rings of the inferno.

  • CathyStripeLester

    Thanks, Bob, he is continuing to get better. He’s been going outside more, though I think he’s been sticking around the house. (Sensible)! I agree, a ring of the inferno would be good. My own thought is that people should have to re-live the hurt they cause to others… including animals.

  • thesweetestpea

    Cathy, my cats are never allowed out of the house because there are people who will hurt them if they get the chance. Your cat will live longer as an indoor cat also and be much healthier. Years ago, I caught a neighbor boy, calling over the neighbor’s cat who was sweet as could be, and he’d pick her up and throw her to the street. I ran out of the house and let him have it and called the cops. They could only talk to the boy’s father and tried to put the fear of God in him. He didn’t bother us anymore but I heard that, a few years later, he was in juvenile jail for stabbing someone. I hope your kittie will be fine from now on, but think twice about letting him outside.

    • CathyStripeLester

      Sweetestpea, I’m not surprised that the boy wound up in juvenile jail. I’m just sorry for the people and animals he hurt on the way there. I know that cats are in greater danger outside. However, you’d have to talk to Kato. He’s a big, muscular boy who grew up loving to explore the great outdoors, and when i don’t let him out he mrrrowls constantly, scratches at the door and claws the curtains. He knows how to get his way!

  • Bobdisqus

    Sweetestpea & Pam

    He is a cat and as such is wont to do as a cat was made. He is the terror of insects, rodents, and birds and in such is no cruelty. Not to say that we should just free pets to their nature either they should not be tolerated to harm children or for a dog to chase deer or other large game. Those are human rules however and we should not confuse them with our pets own motivations.

    If you feel better to have constrained yours that is fine as well they are pets. I trust you with decisions for your pets as you should trust Cathy for hers.

    • CathyStripeLester

      Update: Kato has back catching mice (he proudly brought in and devoured half of it in the middle of the dining room) — so I’m declaring him officially recovered. I agree, Bob, he loves being outdoors so much I feel he’s in his natural element and I hate to deprive him of it.

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