Sometimes you must.

ThisCatIsGoingtoHurtSomebodyI’ve run across a strange plethora of internodes today referencing pets and dogs and cats as companions and friends. Not the least of these was Wil Wheaton’s post about his new dog and his old dog. As well as OK Go’s video for their song White Knuckles.

This has left me with a strong desire to ramble interminably on about my own feelings on pets. I grew up with cats, lots of cats. Dogs are OK too, though they tend to smell. Then I went and married a woman who not only doesn’t particularly like cats but is strongly allergic to them as well as anything else with fur. No cats in my house. This leaves a nostalgic emotional gap.

Once, in Afghanistan, I almost got in a knife fight with a teammate to protect a cat that had pooped in his HMMV’s seat. No blood was shed, though I soon arranged a new home for the cat on our next trip outside the FOB.

So, I still like cats even though I can’t keep any. I’ll always stop to pet one and it fills the gap a little to feel the warmth and hear the purr.

The most significant cat event in my life in the last ten years was not the knife fight either. It’s not a happy memory, so be warned.

It happened on a busy business district street in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was stopped three cars back from the light in the middle of three lanes.  All the lanes were full at least twenty cars back. Up ahead of me, at the head of the lane to my left, some truly evil people rolled down the window of their beater car to up-end a kitten out of a bag and onto the road. The kitten, probably 4 or 5 months old, landed on its feet and looked back where it had come from. The light changed. I started forward slowly so the people behind wouldn’t rear end me when I stopped to pick up the kitten.

The kitten, freaked out by the cars suddenly moving, dashed to hide under the first car in my lane, the rear tires of which caught its hips. The poor thing went down and started yowling, screaming really, and flipping its crushed and broken body around in paroxysms of pain. I was horrified. The second car missed the kitten entirely. As I rolled up on the pitiful spasming thing I realized there was only one thing I could do. Gritting my teeth I accelerated and steered my front tire over the kitten’s front end. The screaming stopped.

I continued through the intersection and caught a glimpse of the beater car disappearing down the road where it had turned left. I considered turning left illegally and following the blackhearted bastards until they stopped and I could confront them. I knew how that would turn out though, with me in jail facing an assault charge.

I continued on to work and parked. Face in my hands I worked the tears out then wiped my eyes and went inside.

I’ve been trying to forget that for 9 years. No luck, so now I immortalize it.

If you people in the beater car ever read this, you’ll know who you are. It’ll take you a while to live that one down you filthy animals. I’ll be happy to help you balance your account though.

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