Firstly, don’t read this if you’re easily upset. I really am just looking for any kind of good advice to make a heart wrenching decision. I’m devastated that the first post I am typing out on the new site is about heartbreak and tragedy, but I wanted to get it out whilst the event is still fresh. In three days, time is already working its’ magic and I’m able to write about and consider the repercussions of what happened.
The tragic news is that one of my dogs mauled and killed my cat on Sunday night, whilst Louis and I were out for dinner. On top of being distraught we’re at a complete loss of what to do and here’s why..
Many years ago, well only four and a half if we’re being precise, Louis and I embarked on an exciting adventure together in which we bought our first house and celebrated the occasion by expanding our twosome and adopting a cute, black and white kitten. Louis named her Kitty SoftPaws and we were absolutely smitten. Every night she’d lay on Louis’ lap whilst he played on his PlayStation, and whenever I did my makeup she would twirl around my feet until I brushed her too with a soft makeup brush. She loved to be groomed.
In what felt like no time at all she fell pregnant and had a litter of kittens of her own! (We thought cats were spayed at one year, but apparently not…). As soon as her kitty contractions started she began yowling at us to let her into our bedroom, where she made herself comfortable on a pile of towels and gave birth to four beautiful black and white babies who looked just like her. We were there the whole time, worried in case things went wrong as she was so young herself, but she managed just great. It was amazing to watch her being a mother, and I’ll always remember how well she cared for her babies. We got her desexed as soon as it was safe to do so, but kept one of her kittens for ourselves who we grew to love as much as we did Kitty SoftPaws.
Some time later, when her kitten too had grown to adulthood, we stumbled across a ‘last-chance’ advert for a greyhound mix who’d been found by kayakers clinging to a rock beside a river. He had multiple injuries, notably a back injury that is suspected to shorten his lifespan and requires on-going medication, but the main issue was his extreme people-nervousness which presented itself as aggression. He’d been available for adoption for a year, but any potential adoption fell through whenever he was introduced as he would cower in the corner, growling. He wouldn’t even take a treat placed at his feet, and instead would stare at the wall behind him, gulping nervously. The only reason he’d been kept so long was because of his amazing nature with other animals at the rescue – from chickens, to cats, to other dogs. We took him home where he immediately befriended the cats and began to warm to us.
Not long after, my mum pointed us in the direction of an abandoned dog on the kill-list at a nearby town’s SPCA. My mum is heavily involved with dog rescues in New Zealand, and they had somehow been alerted to the fact that this lovely young collie mix and the buns she was cooking were on death’s door. Yep, not only was she was very young but also very pregnant, and extremely difficult to extract from the SPCA. When we did manage to get them to relinquish her, we were alarmed to see that she was the only dog on site which is very indicative of what happens to the dogs that end up there! Despite our intentions to adopt out her puppies, followed by her, we fell in love with her sweet and loving nature. Being abandoned has led her to be incredibly insecure, jealous and clingy. As she began to grow in confidence, we didn’t have the heart to uproot her and kept her with us.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve fostered dogs and cats without a problem. Though we did lose two cats to outdoor dog attacks – we were never able to pinpoint the culprit. Our dogs lived alongside the cats harmoniously and it didn’t cross our mind that it could have been them.
Sunday night however, we separated the dogs and cats indoors as per usual and headed out to dinner. When we returned, I opened the bedroom door to be greeted by bloodstains and tufts of fur everywhere.. and two incredibly sheepish dogs. Kitty SoftPaws lay motionless, and when I scooped her up I noticed she’d bitten through her tongue and her eyes were crossed. Her body lay away from the worst of the blood and fur, which conjures up a number of horrendous images of her trying to crawl away or being dragged by the dogs. Either way, the whole thing was horrendous and the only bit of peace I can take away is that her last moments would have been so full of adrenaline that she wouldn’t have felt too much. She must have been hidden away in the wardrobe that was slightly ajar when we locked the dogs in the bedroom.
Louis and I are feeling more emotions than I thought humanly possible – encompassing everything from guilt, devastation, hate towards the dogs and complete disgust over the death. It’s made all the more worse by the fact that we’d often find her asleep curled up with the dogs on their bed in the past, and they turned on her in such a violent way.
We’re left now wondering what to do, and how to move forward when neither of us can bear to even look at the dogs. There is no way to know who did it, though we suspect it was Benny – the greyhound mix. We have two other cats, and with two cats killed by dogs in the past we now question the part our dogs could have played there. It’s truly horrendous to consider.
The only reason we have the dogs is because they were on death’s door. As huge “cat-people” none of us can imagine letting our dogs back inside into family life, but one dog will surely be punished for the other’s doing. And being predator animals, I can’t help thinking we were the foolish ones to ever consider them as “friends” of the cats. We got complacent over the years and stopped being diligent when separating them. This puts us at fault, and not the dogs who were “just being dogs”….
Benny and Lucy are a pack, they sleep together, groom each other, share toys together and are pretty inseparable. I feel dreadful knowing the chances of them going off together, especially with Benny being anti-social towards humans are slim to non existent. But I also relive the moment I discovered my poor fur-baby’s body mutilated in her own home, in the space she felt the most safe and secure where she chose to birth her kittens, whenever I look at them.
I don’t know that there’s even an answer to this horrible situation. What life would a dog have with someone who resents it? And why do we resent the both of them, when only one dog killed the cat? How will I ever forget discovering the mutilated body of the cat who turned us into a family, when I continue to care for the dogs who tore the family apart? But on that note, how could I punish a dog for being a dog? And how is it fair to punish two dogs for one dogs crime?
Sometimes you need the wisdom of other people in life’s most difficult situations, and everything about this situation is tragic, what would you do?