Ever since I could remember, I had to fight other alley cats (sometimes dogs too) for food, shelter and more often than not, my life. Being born an alley cat had its consequences. I was never destined to wear posh leather collars, eat expensive cat food or sleep in a warm bed without the fear of being torn apart in the middle of the night. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have the blissful life of a house cat!
It so happened that one eventful day I got into a dispute with another cat over a piece of stale meat; the dispute soon transitioned into a brawl. Losing dinner was one thing, losing a paw was quite another. Blood spurted out onto the cold and damp alley. I fell unconscious, drowning in the very thing that had kept me alive all this time. When I woke up I observed that I was no longer in the cruel alley I had grown up in, this place was different. I had white bandage where my paw once used to be. Before I could grieve for my loss, I was startled by a sudden shout of excitement. Before I could find a place to hide, I was picked up by an unfamiliar being – a human. I tried to scratch my way out of the human’s embrace but its arms tightly held my torso. Even though I was scared of this person, I could feel that it meant me no harm. Soon enough, I got to know that this person was the one who saved my life. Since that moment on, I had nothing but love for my owner and she too loved me with all her heart. I was technically a house cat now.
Our wishes do come true, albeit in the strangest of ways.
Days turned into weeks and the weeks into months. Life was good. Everyone in the house had accepted me as part of the family except for my mistress’s 15 year old son who kicked me around when no one was looking, dragged me by my tail occasionally or poured cold water on me sometimes. I didn’t mind it much because I loved him and had nothing but gratitude for him and his family for saving me from the ruthless life on the streets. I vividly remember the day everyone left the house for a picnic except for my ‘tormentor’ who had stayed behind. If only I had known his intentions before he took action. I was woken up from my evening nap by an unanticipated jerk from my stay-at-home companion. He held in his hand a white can that gave off a sweet, euphoric odor. I could see the madness in his eyes; he was consumed by it. He picked me up by my collar and took me outside. I could hear my heart thudding against my chest. In the blink of an eye, he emptied the can on me and set it on fire. Never before had I ever experienced the searing pain of my flesh being burned. I wriggled, rolled and clawed on my skin in a futile attempt to relieve me of the agony. What had I done to drive him this crazy? All I ever did was love humans and what did they give me in return? Anguish. Within minutes, I was consumed by the flames that died with me. I wonder if anyone would ever feel my absence or remember my eternal love for my saviors. After all, I was just another alley cat.
Based on numbers from pet-abuse.com, 1880 cruelty cases were reported on the media, in 2007 alone. Of these 1880, 1212 involved dogs and 337 involved cats, two of the most common pets found in homes. Animals, like us, have a soul and need love and protection. It saddens our hearts to see people abuse creatures not even half their size. We know that animal abuse cannot be eradicated in one day, we also know that it would take a combined effort to put an end to abuse of helpless creatures. Join us in making a difference, join us in our mission to make a world where there is ‘Chaaon-sab k liye’.
By Zain Ijaz, former intern.