Re July 1st with mention of one event taking place previously:
There are two types of people in the world and I encountered both today without seeing the face of either.
The first came in the form of a little piece of paper painstakingly taped to a lamppost; painstaking due to the small size, much easier to stick a piece of A4 up and this was much smaller than that.
On it was a picture of a cat, looking quite battered at that; like it had an ear missing, but that could’ve just been the angle of the camera.
It had been found down the high street and taken to a local vet, where it had received treatment and had the picture snapped.
From there someone had printed it out numerous times on a piece of paper, then cut each out—I was to encounter plenty more the further walked—and, get this, written in hand on every single one the same message.
Lost cat found, etc.
Bless that cat. She looked a beauty despite the possible missing ear and being old. Who had let her out like that wasn’t what grabbed me; it was the fact someone had gone to the length of writing in hand every message that really touched.
Then I got to the end of the road where it meets a bigger main one; this I crossed and then started to walk along.
Ahead was the crossing where a couple of weeks back I’d come upon the end of a serious RTA; a biker being carted off in the back of an ambulance clothes still all over the road where they’d been cut out of them.
Being a rider, I remember the gruesome scene every time and wonder how it happened, the bike clearly on the wrong side of the road somehow, hitting the car fast and head on.
If they’d been trying to overtake someone there, then for so many reasons it was a ludicrous manoeuvre; as the ghastly aftermath had spread itself across the tarmac in testimony to.
The only alternative being someone running across the crossing while the lights showed green.
It was plausible, as the other side (the side I came from further back down the road) is at that point the top of a small verge big enough for the sidewalk to take a zig-zag route to get up or down it.
Not that it matters; people ignore the grey pavement to walk directly up the little tall-grassed incline, which means they rise to the edge of the crossing as though from out of nowhere.
So, someone could have appeared ‘just like that’, as Tommy Cooper of Yesteryear used to say, and been in the road in an instant.
Assuming, of course, they didn’t have the good sense to check both ways for oncoming traffic first or the patience to press the button and wait for the beeps that sound red lights showing.
Except where the bike and car were suggested anyone just running out in the road to cause the crash would have come from the other side, where there was no incline to shield from driving eyes.
It was while I pondered all this that the long grass at the top of the incline moved and a cat emerged on the other side of the road.
It was not the cat in the lost cat signs that were all around; this isn’t that sort of happy story, for that cat, according to all the little bits of paper at least, was still at the vets.
This cat looked young, somewhere between seven and nine months would be my guess.
It took a few cat steps to reach the edge of the crossing, and I swear it looked across at the other side like it was checking the do and don’t cross signals there.
Amazing, the cat knew how to use a crossing!
Except it didn’t, just kept sauntering right on out into the middle of the road instead.
This was when I met the second type of person.
All said and done, for such a main road, it’s a relatively quiet one.
But at that moment a car came from behind me.
I could see the back of the driver’s head as it zipped past; it was a woman or a very interesting male take on hair.
Either way, car and cat were both heading towards the same square inches of road.
The car would slow. It had to.
Or the cat would be spooked, turn and bolt the other way . . . Surely.
Neither; the car, without slightest drop in speed, just hurtled right on like the cat wasn’t even there, passing me to block the cat from view.
My heart jumped sickeningly.
I don’t believe for a second the driver didn’t see the cat. There was nothing else on the road. It wasn’t like it had just shot out from the grass to hurtle across. It could be clearly seen slowly walking on a crossing designed to make things on it easy to see.
The driver made not a smidgen of effort to slow, not even a toot on the horn; just went whizzing by.
I clenched in anticipation of an awful noise and mess; shocked, horrified and speechless.
Not everybody likes cats, and in law—UK, at least—they’re considered something akin to vermin and not included (at time of writing) in the list of animals the Highway Code states drivers must stop if hitting or otherwise be committing an offence; a state of affairs at which cat lovers take great offence.
And while I don’t wish to condone for a second this legal absurdity that doesn’t stop for every living creature in its so-called justice wake, I do suggest that before getting too angry the taking of a moment to stop and think about the greater implications of the situation instead.
See, if a dog places its excrement in the middle of a street, the owner’s legally obliged to pick that poop right back up again; so imagine how much the responsibility increases if pooch is found over the fence in someone else’s backyard squatting to do its business?
Likewise if a mutt runs about all over the place killing other animals as it pleases, it’s considered out of control and dangerous; with which comes all sorts of deadly consequences.
Imagine trying to apply the same responsibilities and rules to cats? Exactly. Or, excatly perhaps.
The only way to control a cat these ways is to keep it inside; something that also removes the risk of it getting squashed and left for dead in the road.
Two birds with one stone as they say, except with pussy indoors there’s less birds killed; so really its three birds with the same stone, but in a good way.
Anyway, I start to digress, for nonetheless:
Regardless of any reconsiderations or not drawn from all of that, there is also a law saying nothing should be killed by a wanton act of cruelty, and the car in question didn’t make any attempt to slow, never mind stop.
Deliberate or didn’t see it being the only possible options of defence, and so meaning if the latter a case of driving without due care and attention at the very least.
If I’d blessed the cat admired in the picture above, then the God I don’t believe in had blessed this one; for as the car passed fully there it was still crossing without a care.
Christ, its whiskers must have touched rubber they were so close!
The cat, completely aloof, finished crossing at the same time I reached the set of lights.
I stopped and it did likewise at my feet, looking up at me.
“Stupid cat; you were almost killed, don’t you know that?!”
It didn’t, but did have a collar on; an owner’s address perhaps. I considered looking, but what would I do then? Pick it up, carry it home, knock on the door and upon it being answered say, “Is this your cat? It doesn’t have the sense to be out and about on its own crossing roads. Frankly it’s a bloody miracle it’s not dead!”
Assuming I could find the address in the maze of weird house names round here, what would it get me? Possibly scratched in the first instance of picking up and possibly so in the second should the owner not take kindly to doorstep lectures on the subject of what to do and not do with their cat.
Still, what I’d witnessed left me shaken not to mention stirred; angry, that on the one hand someone had gone to great lengths to return a cat to its home, while on the other there’d been this, well . . . crass indifference.
Hmm . . . that might be putting it mildly, maybe even politely.
A weak thought of perhaps the cat wasn’t seen hanging by the barest of threads; but if the case, it still leaves not being able to see equalling shouldn’t be on the road, so let’s put it wildly instead:
Cruel arrogance; obscene entitlement: a sign representative of a great percentage of the times.
I considered just taking the cat back across the road, but that hinged on it being the side it lived on, which would’ve been no more than an assumption based on where I’d first seen it come from, so I left it be and walked on, turning back to check on where it had gone; nowhere beyond staring up in to a tree longingly.
Today I went back the same way. Dreading checking the road in case I should find it prostrate by the kerb; but, good-news-good-news, it wasn’t there instead.
That young cat with no clue lives to fight another day; while good people continue to go out of their way to do good things; and the bad are the complete opposite, refusing to slow or swerve for anything getting in theirs.
More Catastic Posts:
- About the Cat I Found Today
- What We Feed Cats & Why It’s Far from Purrfect
- Two Furking Cat Poems
Thanks for reading 🙂
N. P. Ryan
Header image courtesy The3dragons