I met Alec on September 26th 2003 around 6:30pm. I was returning home after a short trip to the grocery store when I noticed a small cat on the side of the road. Sadly, I pass dead animals almost every day out here. I see everything from deer, skunk, porcupine, fox to cats. Normally as I pass the animal I envision a ring of light that I visually toss around the body, then I imagine the ring grow skywards in to a shaft of light. I like to think that the spirits of the animals see the light and are able to find their way to the other side with my help. I then have a moment of silence and tell the animal how sorry I am and how much I care. Silly perhaps, but it helps me to cope with seeing each animal.
That fateful evening was different. I felt as if something was not right before I envisioned the light. Something told me I had to stop. I slammed on my breaks (I was traveling about 60mph) and spun around in a tight U-turn, passed up the cat and spun around again, stopping 20 feet behind the body in the middle of the lane. I could see thick blood dripping from his mouth and as I opened my door I noticed his little chest move and could now see he was struggling to breath. I ran to the cat as several cars raced past me, turning to give me dirty looks as I was blocking the lane with my car. Another car came and pulled up by me. Not seeing the cat the passenger asked if I was okay or needed help. I pointed to the cat and the woman in the passenger seat looked shocked and asked if it were my cat or I hit it. I quickly explained I stopped when I saw it on the road and that I had to get it to a veterinarian right away. I had taken off my jacket to use to pick the cat up, but as the other car was there I asked the driver if he had a blanket or towel I could use. The driver got out and went to the hatchback, opened it and pulled out a white blanket and handed it to me. I thanked him and ran to my car as he drove off. My groceries were all on the passenger seat floor and I grabbed the bags and threw them into the backseat so fast everything flew all over the back.
I ran back to the cat with the blanket in my hand and I started to cry as I looked down on him. I gently wrapped the blanket around the cat, who was still struggling to breath. I carefully placed him on the passenger side floor and grabbed my cell phone. I called our veterinarian to tell them I was rushing in with an emergency. The receptionist answered and asked I could hold. I barely let her finish the sentence as I cried out that I could not hold and quickly told her who it was, that I had a cat who was hit by a car, I was on my way in and would call back as I approached the office so someone could meet me outside. I spun the car around and raced off faster than I have ever driven on that road before, tears still flowing down my face.
As I raced towards town I spoke gently to the cat, telling him how sorry I was, how pretty he was and how I would help him. As I approached the vet's office I phoned and told them I was only a minute or two away now and to meet me in the parking lot as I pulled in. Two vet technicians came out to get the little cat from the car and placed him on more blankets then ran in the office with him. I jumped back in my car, backed it into a space and ran in the office.
Still in tears I told the receptionist that cost did not matter, do what needed to be done. She told me two vets were in back with the cat and to wait here, someone would come out soon. I was not able to sit still. I paced the room still in tears. Finally our vet came out and asked me to come in the examination room.
He explained that the cat had sustained a fractured jaw, many broken ribs, a collapsed lung, his lip was pulled off and back to below his chin, massive head trauma and cracked spine. He said he believed that the cat would be better off if it were put to sleep and if not there was only a slim chance it would survive all the surgery, years of healing and he still would likely never be a normal cat again. We decided it would be best to end the suffering and tears began to well up in my eyes again. The vet handed me a box of tissue and left the room.
I could hear the beeping of the equipment that was monitoring the cat. Over the next several minutes all I could hear was the "beep, beep, beep" then silence. I was crying harder now, questioning my decision. The door opened and the vet came in. He told me we did the right thing. The cat was no longer in pain.
I asked him about the cat and he told me the cat was a male, about 6 months old and a Siamese mix, possibly part Himalayan. The vet planned to have him cremated and have his ashes scattered on the ground by the clinic. He told me I could stay in the room as long as I needed and that he had to get back to a sick dog. He left and I heard him tell someone to enter the cat's name in the paperwork as "Tom-Cat".
As I drove home I decided the cat needed a proper name on the paperwork. It came right to me. Alec. Short for "A LovEd Cat". I called the vet and made sure the paperwork contained his name. I also decided to pay for a private cremation. We have his ashes now and keep them on the bookcase with Copycat's ashes and near Electra's picture and Itchy's picture.
Alec was loved, if only for 30 minutes. Someone cared for him, I cared for him. Cared enough to stop. Cared enough to bring him to the veteranarian. Cared enough to bring his suffering to an end. I cared. I still care. I will always care and I will think about him every day. Alec, you are our unofficial CoolCyberCat angel.
I will always miss the CoolCyberCat I met on the road one very sad evening.
(Our eternal candle for Alec as it burned that night)
No animal deserves to go through what Alec did, yet every day we see little Alecs all over, some dead or dying, many unloved and uncared for. Most people do not give it a second thought. There is a story that comes to mind on this:
There was a man that liked to go to the ocean each morning to walk along the beach. One morning as he was walking along the shore he looked down the beach and saw someone dancing along the waters edge. He wondered what the person was doing so he began to walk faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he saw that it was an old man and the old man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the sand, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?"
The old man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish in the ocean."
"I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"
"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."
"But, old man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and thousands of starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"
The old man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, "I just made a difference for that one."
Please, always stop for hurt animals who need the difference. Help the stray and feral cats in your area with food or catch them and bring them to the vet for shots and to be fixed. Donate a few dollars or a few hours of your time to your local no-kill shelter. Don't let them die alone, in pain and scared. You CAN make a difference, if only for one animal.
ALec, you ARE and forever will be a loved cat - the CoolCyberCats