The Damage That Ignorance Can Do

He was emaciated, so much so that he could hardly walk upright. Instead, he toddled like a young child.

This scrawny little kitten was actually an 8-year-old neutered tomcat

I fed him. How could I not? I brought him inside and into the spare room. I told him that if he lived through the weekend, I’d take him to the vet. But I honestly didn’t think he was going to live.

And yet, he did. The scrawny little kitten was actually an 8-year-old neutered tom.

I never found out for sure where he came from, but I think I know. I’d seen a beautiful white cat two doors down. Those folks moved, two weeks later men went in to work on the place, and this cat appeared. So he’d probably been left alone for someone else to rescue. Or to die a slow and painful death.

Between 35 and 45 million households in the US include a cat. And one-third of those cats were acquired as strays. That’s not surprising since there are an estimated 70 million strays in the US.

I personally have never bought a cat or even adopted one from a shelter. They were always strays.

Where do they come from? Some are like Malachi and are left behind. Some are cats that are “put out,” and get lost. And some are the offspring of other strays.

Hard to believe it’s the same cat.

Between 80 and 90 percent of owned cats are spayed or neutered. Then where do these millions of strays come from? The 10 to 20 percent of us who were irresponsible.

So you see, it’s not that there are so many of us are bad actors. It’s just that the small number of us who ARE bad actors do a lot of damage.

98 thoughts on “The Damage That Ignorance Can Do

  1. OH Jen…..I didn’t know that story of Malachi….poor little boy – that’s just so very sad and I’ll NEVER understand how people can do that. I’m happy you showed him such kindness and gave him a life he so deserves to have….he’s really just GORGEOUS….the photo of him “before” is heartbreaking.

    Hugs – BIG ones…….Pam

  2. That is a beautiful cat. He is so lucky you found him. Our cats are also strays and they found us. My daughter takes care of them, and they have turned from wild, hungry and ill to loving and beautiful members of the family. It’s so sad to see so many strays!

  3. your story…I had 1 similar…one day, very early spring time, it was lightly snowing, I heard a meow in what sounded like distress

    I went to my back door, opened it up and like a bolt of lightning, something ran into my house

    it was a cat, all skin and bones

    I took him in, kept him warm and fed him but he would not eat

    I called my local human society and spca to no help, their solution was to house to cat for 7 days than kill him

    that was unacceptable to me not to mention how shocked I was for their lack of concern

    I kept the cat to give him a chance to recover which he did and after the first 3 days that he rested he ate and started to get his strength back

    I don’t know where he came from but because of his wonderful domestic nature he had to belong to someone

    I took him to the vet, I was told he was around 4 years old

    Well as the story goes, we kept him, he blended well with our other cats

    I named him Caesar

  4. This is too common a story. I hand-raised a kitten who’s mom was a feral killed on the highway. People had given food to the kittens and eventually caught them, but this one was starving – at five weeks she was bald, and fit in the palm of my hand. I didn’t think she’d make it. We ended up having 17 great years – she passed a year ago and of course I will always miss her.

  5. Jen, just look what your flow of love did….what a beautiful boy and this is life (and you) giving him a deserved break. 🙂 x

  6. I remember when you first brought him in and were going to try and find a home for him. I am glad that you kept him as he has turned into a beautiful kitty under your care.

  7. I still remember when Jen found Malachi posting his sad pictures on your blog looking for forever home for him.
    Look at him how good he is now! He used to be so skinny….losing his fur because of skin problem…but Wow! He has now so beautiful white fur!!! How lucky he is to have found his lovely home!
    My kittie brofurs used to be all ferals but they are very happy now! I hope that there are more humans to give their help for many feral and stray cats…

  8. I’m sure Malachi is grateful that you found him and took him in. You have a big heart.

    As for the folks that toss their pets away like used tissues, there is a solution. If pet identification (chips) were mandatory and attached electronically to their owners, that is to say records were kept of who owned the pet, and the pet was discarded, those owners would be fined a (very) hefty sum and some kind of mark placed in their record, sort of like points that are put on one’s drivers license.

    Deciding to have a pet should not be a whim. They are living creatures that need love, food and shelter. And medical care. It’s not for the faint of heart, but the rewards, unconditional love and companionship, are worth it. And those that do not place value on those (non-human) lives should be held accountable. Hit them in their wallet and things will turn around very quickly. That’s my .02.

  9. I’m so glad Malachi found a home and you were there for him. It makes me sad that people dump their pets, when they move or change something. They were a part of their family, sometimes for years, how can they leave them behind?

    1. They believe that what they’re doing is OK. They think the animal is used to the area, can care for himself, and will care better than if surrendered to a shelter.

  10. Oh my goodness!! You wonderful woman you Jen!!! Good for you. I am so happy to see that that is the same cat , and he is super healthy and happy thanks to you now!!!
    I had a similar experience.
    This winter a little kitten who was skin and bones, also could not walk etc….exact same as your boy there. I am not even sure how he made it up my steps, but he did. I always put a bowl of cat food on my step for the wandering strays that I see around my house. I even built them an insolated shelter beside my step (well my hubby did)
    Anyways, this kitten was on my step and I spotted him, half froze to death, not enough energy to even lift his head to the bowl of food. I took him in right away, wrapped him in a towel to warm him up, and tried feeding him watered down wet food, etc..
    He didn’t eat, he was going to the bathroom on himself. His system was shutting down, I could tell.
    I called a rescue group that I knew would help, and they did, and somehow, someway this “kitten” made it! He pulled through and is currently up for adoption awaiting his home. BUT the reason I had to tell you this story, is after they looked at his teeth it helped them determine his age, and they said he was between 7 and 10 yrs old. Yet he looked like a tiny kitten….it was a horrid situation for me, my heart was broken, but he got the help he needed, I just thank god I found him on my step alive and not to late.
    Sorry for the long message, but your post brought back that memory for me.
    You are a good woman Jen!
    ((husky hugz))
    frum our pack at love is being owned by a husky

  11. It is sad but at least there are good people like you that are willing to help them. We had neighbors with a cat who kept him fed but paid no attention to him. He would come to my house for attention. Once, during a hurricane, the people evacuated and left him outside. I saw him scared and huddled on the windowsill so I called my next-door neighbor and the two of us fought the wind and went accross the street to get him.

  12. When I moved to a town that was 30 miles away, I had two cats to relocate. They were both indoor/outdoor cats that I had cared for for seven years. Albert was always hanging around and on moving day I brought her with me. Leary, however could not be found anywhere. I searched and searched and so did my dear friend who had helped me move. So, I do understand how some pets can be left behind in a move.

    Luckily for me and Leary, my friend kept looking while I was out of state visiting family, and she found Leary underneath the house. She had been shot by a bb gun. Probably by the neighbor’s teenage boys.
    I took her to the vet when I returned from my trip and she survived after some treatment for infection. After that experience I decided not to let my cats go outside anymore.

    I know that’s not everyone’s choice, but it keeps me at ease and my five indoor cats are amazingly bonded to each other and to my husband and me.

  13. I believe we have an energy portal on our property as we have taken care of countless … we now have 8 inside and 3 timid ones who congregate early evening on our porch. I’ve witnessed the left behind and it’s unthinkable! 😦

    1. And yet it happens so very often. I think I have one of those portals too. I took the garbage to the road Sunday evening and saw two fussing in my front yard. I think they have homes, but they ran off before I could get close enough to get a good look.

  14. It makes me beyond mad that people can be so irresponsible and neglectful in regard to another living creature! I’m thankful for good people like you who take these souls into your life and nurse them back to health. I can’t believe the difference in the photos. It warms my heart knowing Malachi is now living the good life 🙂

  15. When I lived in Tokyo, I started to feed a couple of cats who had been abandoned when their family moved. Eventually, I had them seen by a vert, the male neutered (the female was spayed but the stitches had never been removed…) they were adopted by an American guy and they moved to California. Sweet revenge, eh?!

      1. Nope Rumpy…never gonna happen, because there are ways to work around whatever the circumstance. It is that many just think of themselves, have no empathy…and I will never be able to understand that

  16. How can anyone abondon an animal! That’s horrible! We’re so, so happy you took the little sweetheart in! You’re great! 😀 And Malachi is such a beautiful tomcat! 🙂 xoxo Roxy & Tigerlino

  17. I will never understand the selfishness of others over the unconditional love of a pet who is left behind to “fend for themselves”. How does one live with themselves?

  18. You are very kind and obviously love animals. But we knew that because you took in Rumpy and look at what a wonderful dog turned out to be. Malachi knew he had landed in a good place and fought to stay alive to be there with you.
    Thank you for your kindness.

  19. Thank you so much for caring enough to save Malachi. It’s maddening to us to think that anybody would just leave an animal behind like that. Yet, we get animals at PAWS fairly often that were just abandoned… 😦

  20. Gosh, that photo is just shocking. Whee had no idea of his story. Whee can’t believe anyfurry could let an animal get in a state like that. It breaks our hearts. Whee have seen a very recent case of a cage full of hamsters dumped in a SHOPPING TROLLEY! The cage was open and had no bedding or anything. The person had clearly hoped they would escape, but they were so frightened they just curled up together. They were a complete mess, (so skinny you could see their organs against their skin and every bone) and not expected to make it, in fact half didn’t but those that did are finding new homes as whee squeak,

    Nacho, Noah, Buddy & Basil

    ps I don’t know what more we can do?! We are kind to our animals, caring, and gentle and always do our best by them. How can we honestly stop those who couldn’t care less?!

  21. Sadly Jen the story is so like bullies…they are bad but the ignorance of those who watch is just as harmful…Malachi is indeed like so many millions of other cats ..difference for him is he found you…I always have my eyes out for animals that may seem to be more ways than one…how many signs you see put that ..people have moved and their cat is missing….truly heartbreaking..Malachi indeed looks nothing like the first picture and has flourished with love and care 🙂 hugs Fozziemum xx

      1. So damn sad….seen it too many times…the poor waifs that would come into the shelter and we had no idea their age because of their condition..then to see them after they were healthy..the lucky ones…and pictures that their new families sent in…different animals…got to the point that when the rangers car arrived I would feel sick at what we would be greeted with..and love them usually they responded with such sweetness at a kind word even..still have bad dreams….

      2. Some good news for your day Jen…well a bit..ACT has just declared they are banning Battery Cages for hens Sow stalls and Farrowing crates in their state..let us hope this spread through our country!

  22. Toki and Evie were the babies of a stray taken home over winter break from a college campus. I can’t … I mean…how do you just leave your cat or dog or any other kid behind? Of course, I am sure there are plenty of people who would look at me and ask, “How do you go without food for two weeks because you spent $1,000 on a vet bill?”
    Oh…come to think of it, when I was a kid, my mom bought a trailer to refurbish and rent (we’re classy like that) and when she unlocked the door, she found a cat. The trailer had been empty for over a month and they’d just left the cat locked inside. I don’t know what it was living on. You can imagine how the place smelled. But the cat came home with my mom and it hated us for about five years and then one day, it just stopped hating us. We were finally able to brush her and get her knots out so she didn’t have to resort to pulling them out with her teeth or getting trapped to be taken to the vet to be put under so the vet could get the knots out. It was a win/win situation. And she turned out to be a sweetheart.

    I am always heartened to find other families do this, too. Malachai looks fantastic and is obviously very happy to have found you to be his person.

  23. Yes, it is hard to imagine that is the same cat 😮
    It is truly sad that humans,the “superior race” can be so cruel!
    Purrs to you for saving Malachi.
    Purrs Georgia and Julie,
    and Angels Tiger and Tillie

  24. He is beautiful…and so are you:) Living in the country we have had several baby kittens dumped out here…we have coyotes and traffic…I am always thankful when I find them as they are lost and traumatized…I was riding orseback one day with friends and heard this desperate meow mew sound and looked behind us and we had four baby kittens trying to follow us…there were four of us so we took one and carried then in the saddle with us back to my barn where I kept them until I found them homes…a few days later my in laws went walking and found one more left behind as she was too scared to come out…and thank God she was still ok…and I did find all 5 of them a home:)

  25. That was Malachi?? For real Jen?? Oh my goodness!!! I am in tears…how could anyone have left that sweet boy behind? Their loss; your gain…Malachi is one handsome cat & I am sure he is very very happy to be with all of you!
    Sherri-Ellen & Nylablue too

  26. I agree with the above comment. This story was hard for me to read, but I am so glad you shared it. It’s so important to share these stories so that people can be educated.

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