Monday, August 31, 2009

Throw in the Towels

Yesterday, we dropped off a huge load of towels at the local animal shelter, which is always desperate for them. Knowing my fondness for cats, my husband said, “I’ll take them in. You can wait in the car.”
“I’ll be fine,” I assured him, blithely following him inside.
As if.
As if the cages full of homeless, hopeful-eyed cats wouldn’t tug my heartstrings.
As if four little black kittens playing “pounce” in a small wire cage wouldn’t make me want to scoop them all up and take them home.
As if two young tiger striped cats huddled together, whether out of loneliness or just for a soft spot to lean on, wouldn’t bring tears to my eyes.
As if an older cat, rolling on its back, stretching out a paw to a visitor, trying to get his attention, wouldn’t make me want to pay the visitor to take the little sweetheart home with him.
As if the pitiful meows from the other, larger room, wouldn’t give me nightmares.

I’ve always had cats in my homes, from age nine on, until my lovely Calico cat, Cali, died a few years ago. Then I called it quits. We travel a lot and it became painful to leave Cali behind, knowing she’d see a human only once a day for weeks. I just can’t do that to an animal I love.

And I did have nightmares last night. I can’t bear to think of those cats and dogs confined to small wire cages for days, weeks, maybe months or years at a no kill shelter. How do they get any exercise? What do they play with? It haunts me. I wish there were another way to house them. I know there are cat societies where they can roam loose, but that isn’t happening here.

Someday I’m sure I’ll have a pet again, but for now, next time I have a load of towels, I’ll let my husband take them in.

How do you feel about animal shelters? What is the animal shelter like in your hometown?
p.s. That's my daughter's cat in the photo, sitting in our laundry tub.