If you saw a small child fall off a bike would you stop to lend a hand? Would you open the door for someone struggling with groceries in hand? Do you offer tissues to someone crying? What if you witnessed a distressed cat in a gutter clinging to life? Would you take the time to help?
Jingles the cat was a stray living within the city of Jacksonville. He was homeless and lived within a small block of apartments seeking shelter and food wherever he could find. If you live in the city of Jacksonville you have seen many stray cats just like Jingles. They are almost a commodity. Many of these strays are considered feral, or cats that live outdoors and are not socialized to humans.
Making the Right Decision
Jingles brought joy to many within that neighborhood, including me. When I found him one day hunkered in the gutter, he was overcome by life’s mysteries (it is still unknown what exactly happened to him). I did not hesitate to scoop Jingles up and whisk him off to the animal ER. After deliberation with the wise staff at the local Emergency Vet Clinic, I made the decision to say goodbye in a humane and compassionate way. He was a sweet and lovable soul, never asked for much but kind words, food and an occasional belly rub. As I kissed his little head and he took his final breaths, I thought about all the feral cats that end like Jingles. Do they get the same love and care? Unfortunately, many stray or feral cats are viewed as a nuisance and don’t receive fair or compassionate treatment.
Finding Compassion vs. Disregard
Alley Cat Allies explains, “Feral cats have a home – outdoors! And although they appreciate a can of cat food, they don’t want to snuggle with you on your couch.” Jingles was a feral in the sense that he lived outside. He was personable and enjoyed being petted. He was an exception as many feral cats dislike being handled and will run when you get within feet of them. Just because feral cats don’t want to snuggle doesn't mean they don’t deserve love and compassion as we express to the felines we can cuddle. People can love a feral from a distance with kindness.
You might think that feral cats are a nuisance, but feral cats are a blessing and bring peace and joy to many who live alone or feel segregated from the world. I believe animals are here to teach us things and our job is to love every creature great and small. Take a moment to notice the feral cats in your community. Begin to recognize them as individuals with personalities; each with a purpose to carry the message of hope to someone or something we might not see on the surface.
When you’re passionate and committed, you can do anything. Thank you for reading and thank you for sharing this article with others. Please share any comments, story, and event ideas with me at Jessie@myepicwriting.com.