Wasn't Sure What To Do..

I walked to the corner store tonight at about 7pm, and on the way back I noticed a poor cat on a porch meowing to be let in. I stopped for a minute to consider what action I should take (it was like -25C with the wind). I observed the cat licking its pads in an attempt to curb the onset of frostbite. I was boiling.. I was torn between taking responsibility for the cat's well-being and acting like a repellent, nosy citizen who involves themselves in others' business. I continued on home with my conscience biting me.

After about half an hour, I could not stand it anymore. I threw on my winter gear again and walked over to that house, trying to make plans of what to say. I thought that I could knock on the door and simply say something like, 'I know that it's not my business, but if this is your cat, it's welfare is my business, and if you will not let it inside I will take it for tonight and let it loose once the weather improves'. I am not at all confrontational, but this agitated me enough. Luckily, when I arrived at that house, there was no cat in sight. I tried calling for it and looked around the house, but it must've been let in at that point.

What I want to know is.. how do other people with consciences deal with these situations? I know that I cannot take in any more cats, and if I turn them in to the shelter, they will probably be euthanized. Is it okay to tell people that they should be more responsible with their pets and is that effective, or will they do the opposite just as a reaction due to their perception of being told what to do by someone else? I don't know what is best to do in these situations..
FallaciesAppease FallaciesAppease
26-30, M
5 Responses Jan 7, 2011

Thank you very much for your advice!<br />
I think I could implement #1 for a couple of nights until it warms up again, but I couldn't keep another cat. I already adopted one like this. I'd love to do more of that, but my place will eventually turn into a giant litterbox :P<br />
I hadn't thought about #2. I did not think about people abandoning pets when they move, but yeah, they really do that. Poor cat wants to go back inside but it's people aren't there anymore.. what a sad thought :( <br />
It'd also be good to have documentation in case someone says that I stole their pet.<br />
Thanks again for the ideas !

I appreciate your advice; I would not want to present myself as the kind of person you describe that woman as being. Believe me, I want no attention brought to myself for any reason. I want to be a ghost. It takes a LOT for me to get into others' business. Some people want attention regarding their animal activism, be it if their intentions are misplaced, or if they are genuinely being active so that people notice them. People being 'noble' and pretending not to want to gain attention is a phenomenon that I have watched (and laughed at) at a distance.<br />
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I would not have thought about going to that door if I had not experienced similar situations. Previously, I had witnessed a poor kitten (maybe 2 months old max) shivering and cowering under a neighbor's porch. During winter. I contemplated rescuing it, but I did nothing because of the same reservations. A few weeks later, I did not see the kitten again. I do not know what happened to it, but I know what kind of people those neighbors were. Self-important ******** who are thinking only of their own interests. I see people like this who own pets all of the time. <br />
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I have trouble giving others the benefit of the doubt, because doing so seems to be contrary to what reality will most likely be. The doubt has changed.

Okay. Here we go. <br />
This past summer I had my house on the market. Whenever someone wanted to come see it I had to vacate the premises. I had to take with me an Autistic 6 year old and a large dog. I had to get in the car, sometimes for hours at a time. On some days it was quite hot, making the park or some such place impossible. I always brought water for my dog and blasted the air conditioning, I was constantly stopping to make sure she was okay.<br />
One day my daughter wanted ice cream. The car trips were getting tiresome and none of the usual distractions were working anymore. I was at my wit's end and stressed out beyond belief. Real estate will do that to you. So will Autism. <br />
Anyway, I calculated in my head that I could be in and out of the ice cream parlor within 5 minutes, so I chose on this particular day to turn the car off, open the windows and make a dash for it.<br />
My daughter would not go in the store, as the refrigerator noise is too much for her and she is scared--so she stands outside the store, her nose pressed to the window. I am a wreck.<br />
The dog is in the car, with a fresh bowl of water and I am looking for an (explitive) bowl of vanilla ice cream.<br />
I see a woman come up to my daughter and engage her and I can see by the look on her face --that of complete disgust --what is going down. And I will tell you--my hackles were already up. <br />
She comes in. Is that your car? Is that your dog?<br />
I turn. I look. Hackles. I say.<br />
"I....have...it...under...control."<br />
She persists, obviously not reading the body language I am intentionally exhibiting. I will spare you the details, but it got ugly--fast. I told her through clenched teeth to "Back off". She didn't.<br />
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Here's the thing--I have always rescued the unrescuable--the ones no one else will take for one reason or another --at great expense and inconvenience to myself. I have found countless lost animals that I have picked up and returned to their owners. I give charitably to rescue organizations. I have never lost a dog, harmed a dog or done anything but increase the quality of life of any animal I have ever taken in, often seeing them through surgeries, and cancer and held them in my arms when they have taken their last breath. Most have lived beyond their expected life span.<br />
This woman did not know me--could not know any of this--but she pushed me --the timing was NOT good. Had I explained, she may have backed down--but I couldn't explain what with the steam eminating from every orifice in my body. <br />
There is a time and a place. You have to trust your instinct. I commend your wanting to do the right thing, but unless it is a back alley, or the woods or the desert--I say, give the owner the benefit of the doubt. <br />
It is not a sin to think the best of people, instead of the worst. At least go into it like that--that people are generally good. Maybe the cat's owner had the flu, and was doing the best that they could do...<br />
Going back to check was what I would have done, but be careful about judging. It could just be a bad day. Most pet owners are responsible and caring and loving towards their pets--but if you have ever been locked up with a cat , sick --with a cat or dog insisting to go out...<br />
**** happens. Err on the side of compassion and understanding. That would be my advice. It's what I do. Assume the best case scenario--but be ready just in case it doesn't pan out. You did the right thing, except for the part about assuming the owners did not care, I believe.

That is an excellent notion. If someone wants to take on the responsibility of owning a living, breathing, feeling animal, they should actually have to be responsible. Germany seems to be on the right track. Ownership screening is ideal but out of the question, but maybe the penalties for being cruel to animals can be increased.

on that topic, germany has a law that says if you buy a dog, you must take it to puppy school for a minimum period and take yourself to a short course on dog psychology and health.