A Gruesome Discovery
The Saturday before Thanksgiving, Pat*, a longtime Cedar Springs resident, walked out to her mailbox as she does each day. But this day was different. She noticed a garbage bag in the ditch by the edge of the road. Initially irritated that someone had treated her property as their personal garbage dump, she walked over to the bag. But there was something odd about this particular bag. Pat saw that while the top was securely tied, the bottom of the bag was shredded and partially open. When she took an even closer look, she was sickened to see that inside the garbage bag was the body of a brown tabby cat. It must have shredded the bottom of the bag trying to escape its plastic prison. Pat reached down toward the cat and made a truly gruesome discovery: the cat was still alive.
Somebody had literally thrown away a live animal!
At this point, there was no telling how much damage the cat had sustained after being tossed into a ditch and then left to freeze in the unseasonably cold weather. From its condition, Pat assumed the cat was dying. It was not moving, showed no sign of having any energy and when it looked at her to meow, scarcely a sound came out.
Worried for its health, she scooped up the cat, bag and all, and brought both into her house. Pat wrapped the cat in a blanket and held it, consoling the tabby while it was shivering with cold and fear. She then set up a pet carrier with blankets, leaving the door open. Next to that, she set out food and water. After several hours, the cat was able to walk over and drink the water. “He was surprisingly thirsty,” Pat says.
She left him alone for a while to eat and rest, checking on him periodically. The victimized animal sprang back quickly. Pat guessed that the cat could not have been in the bag in the ditch longer than 24 hours. “I know that bag wasn’t there when I got the mail on Friday but it was there on Saturday.” Luckily for the brown tabby, Pat did not ignore someone else’s “trash.”
Two days after finding it, Pat, spent money out of her own pocket and took the cat to the Sparta Animal Hospital for a checkup, “…because you gotta do the right thing,” she explained. She was surprised that even after his ordeal, he went into the carrier easily. She was more relieved when the vet reported that the tabby was a neutered male, only around a year old and was in good condition. Fortunately, Mister (as Pat later named him) there were no broken bones or other injuries.
“Who does that?” Pat’s brow furrows in anger now. “Who raises an animal, spends the time and money to neuter it and then does something awful like this?”
After spending a few more days together following the vet visit, Pat says Mister allowed her to get close and pet him, adding, “Once he knew I wasn’t going to hurt him.”
Over the holidays, Pat had many visitors which included her grandchildren. Mister welcomed them, neither fearful nor annoyed. Being such a friendly and gentle cat, Pat is still puzzled why someone wouldn’t want him – to the point they would go to such ghastly lengths to get rid of him.
Sadly for Mister, Pat’s four dogs refuse to accept him into the family. Mister tries to play with the canine crew, but they don’t want to play with Mister.
Thus, Pat began her search for someone that could take him. Two of Pat’s friends had recently adopted their cats from Focus on Ferals Cat Shelter and Adoption Center in Byron Center MI. Founder Gina Marvin immediately agreed to take Mister into the adoption program, where he currently resides.
Says Marvin, “Tragically for animals, we still live in a society where people think it is a good idea to literally toss them out like trash. Only God knows how many are never found. The lucky ones get rescued by some kind-hearted person who just happens upon them. It goes without saying that the discarded animals deserve to be rescued. But also, those everyday people like Pat, who do not have resources to place an animal, and who still go out of their way to save an animal, deserve to get help.”
Like Marvin, Pat is no stranger to rescuing animals. Back in 1979, she recalls stopping a man in a pickup truck from deliberately driving over a snapping turtle. And she has been protecting animals ever since. From “traveling cats” who stop by her property from time to time, to litters of unwanted kittens that get dropped off in her barn, she spends money out of her own pocket to ensure that they have veterinary care, are fixed and stay safe.
“Because you gotta do the right thing.”
If you are interested in Mister, or any of the other cats in the Focus on Ferals adoption program, or would like to make a donation on behalf of one of the cats, visit www.focusonferals.org.
*Pat wants to share her story for the sake of all victimized animals, but prefers to remain an anonymous hero.