The Stray Cats of Malta are an Island Treasure…Until You Find One Injured
I love the stray cats all around the island. I love even more the many cat houses built for them at every park, and the food and water bowls placed all over the island to feed them. I love that friends that I have met all seem to have a stray or two that they feed regularly at their house. One friend told me this week that she has a small dog and a male cat and then two stray lady cats that live outside her flat that she feeds every day. The other day her male cat opened the bathroom window to let his two lady friends inside. She came home to three cats and her little dog. Surprisingly, all was well and everyone gets along. I’m convinced that animals in general here get along better with each other than they do in the states. It’s amazing to see so many people eating lunch with their dogs at cafes far and wide and none are fighting or growling at the other dogs, or even the other cats that always stroll by. It’s like they all know that we must all get along or we will not be invited out next time!
We go to the park by the kids school almost daily and I keep cat food in my trunk so I can feed them. Especially Collin, our favorite cat at the park that loves all over us and we feed excessive amounts of wet food to. We feed excessive to him because when we feed the others, he will go over to them and box at them and eat their portions. He is the ultimate alpha of the park, and yet, the biggest loverboy of them all. Everyone loves Collin.
This is Collin and he is a lover. Everyone loves on him at the park. He comes around right around 2pm every day and the kids at the park gather around him. He’s the only one who doesn’t shy away from all the people. Instead, he rolls on his back, rubs against you and puts on the best show in an attempt for love and affection and hopefully some food. I still would love to know if maybe he has a house around there, because he is so socialized. Everyone I ask though thinks he is one of the stray cats that lives in the park.
Yesterday when I walked through the park heading to pick up the girls though I found this little one, with the softest meow laying at the front of the park. It was not Collin.
As I looked closer, she had her face licking a plastic bag of some sort of food and when she looked up, her mouth on one side had this goop of hanging slobber and I knew something was up with her. Looking closer I saw an open wound on her neck.
As I went on to pick up the girls, I also stopped at the little box where the police man sits everyday and asked him what to do. He said I could call the animal advocates and get an animal ambulance to come get her and give her care. I waited until after I had the girls with me and pulled out some food to give to her. Once I had my sights on her, I’d call the ambulance to come.
An hour and twenty minutes later… and I had to cancel our after school tutoring while we waited, I had the cat in an area that one could each get to a side and close her in to catch her. Only…a woman walking by decided to try to help me and instead clapped her hands at the cat and the cat freaked out and ran off across the street to someone’s house. We followed the cat and chased it back down. This went on for several houses and areas. The ambulance guys still had not arrived. I had called back twice and they had called me once to confirm our location. About two minutes before the guys arrived, the lady clapped her hands at the cat and the cat climbed up a tree at the back of the garage where we had her cornered and climbed up on top of the roof and off and out of sight. The guys pull up in their ambulance and I have to tell them that we have lost the cat. They basically made no attempt to help us find her and turned around and got back in their van. They said they only have one animal ambulance on the entire island so what can they do if I didn’t have her.
And so the story goes…I was totally defeated and still feel that way. I also turned it into a teaching lesson for my kids. I told them that as with both animals and people you cannot help someone who does not want to be helped. And that is the truth. That is an important life lesson to learn early on. Now I know why people keep walking by even if the cat is injured because the chances of getting it taken care of are so slim. I drove by this morning but didn’t see any of the cats. I will go by and look around today at pick up time again, but this time I will not call the animal ambulance and cancel our day while we wait for them to come. I can’t help anyone who doesn’t want to be helped…even that poor little street cat that could have had her chance for a better life. I told her the deal, and I told her that I knew that she was scared but that this part would be the worst of it and she would end up with a new family. But it didn’t work and I was left totally heartbroken over the whole deal. It also makes me know that while I donate money often when no one else is looking to the cat funds around Malta, I also need to have back up numbers and people in place to help them so that if ever this happens again, I have other places to call for help. They are out there. I still refuse to be someone who walks by knowing that I could have made a difference and chose not to. That is the bigger lesson to teach my children.
Toxicity: Tom Blue Wolf always says that :toxicity is knowing the right thing to do and not doing it.” That is what breeds a toxic world, and don’t we already live in a toxic enough world as it is? I want to be one of the good guys. One of the change makers. I just wish I could have affected actual change yesterday. At least this morning on our van ride to school when I told all the kids our story Ava follows it up with “yeah, but you can’t save anyone who doesn’t want to be saved.” So…I guess that is a change in and of itself.
Two quotes that count: “Saving one animal won’t change the world. But it will change the world for that one animal.”
Lilly Tomlin said: “I always wondered why someone doesn’t do something about that…then I realized that I am someone.”
I saw her this afternoon standing out at the front of the same house she always stands. She looked at me like “all that trouble and I’m right here!” I took her picture. She looks a little bit better and she was hanging out peacefully with Collin and another cat that looked like them. Here she is:
And I brought my dog Heidi with me today to ensure that I did not get all tangled up chasing this cat around. The girls had dress up day for World Book Day and they enjoyed having Heidi ride home with them. So, all in all I am feeling better and more peaceful with the kitty remaining with her buddies on the streets.