This Weight on My Heart

Sorry for my absence. It’s a little thing called common reality. Been dealt with. I’m back.

This last weekend, the story of the vet who shot a cat with a bow and arrow then posted pictures of herself and cat with the arrow through his head made the rounds on social media. Some tried to excuse her behavior by saying that it was a feral cat, and women have as much right to hunt as men.

I call bullshit. Tiger, her victim, was a beloved family pet out for a stroll. Even if he had been a feral cat, she had no reason to take his life in such a cruel manner.

The state’s attorney is filing charges against her. For that I am truly grateful. If this makes people more aware of cruelty towards animals, then it will not have been in vain. There’s been a proven correlation between animal abuse and likelihood of violence towards other people. Unless legal remedies are brought into play, nothing will change.

It also made me grateful that I’m an adult now. In my late childhood, my dad bought an air gun. I don’t know why. Perhaps as a hobby to fill the space left by my mother’s death, but I will never know.  At the time, he was drinking heavily to cope, a dangerous combination with his grief and his Asperger’s.  He’d hunted his way through his youth, so it must have been like a reunion with an old friend to hold it in his hands. He spent the evenings drinking beer and lining up the cans on the picnic table in the back yard for target practice.

Dad also took potshots at the cats who came into the yard. He said that he had to keep them away from the house because of his allergies.  I don’t think that he ever killed one, not to the best of my knowledge.

One day, I made the rounds of the neighborhood selling candy for a school fundraiser. One of the elderly widows who’d been labeled “crazy” for her cats  invited me in for a chat. Somehow, Dad’s “hobby” came up.

A couple of days later, an animal control officer stopped and gave Dad a written warning that legal action would be taken if another report came in.

I was told never to speak to that neighbor again, and an ugly confrontation between her and Dad ensued.

I stayed in my room a lot after that.

Now, forty years later, this story comes up. I felt as if I’d been punched in the heart when I read it. I did a lot of Star of Bethlehem flower essence yesterday. It’s a specific for trauma release. I showed my support on Twitter. Otherwise, I was totally at a loss as I contemplated making amends to the cat people for my father’s actions.

Even with his Asperger’s, drinking, and grieving, he would not have been able to plead insanity. Too much thought went into his actions. In 1973, perhaps charges related to illegal discharge of a firearm in a residential area would have been brought into play. Perhaps animal cruelty charges could have been made to stick.

Maybe justice is best served by the younger and more impressionable daughter proudly bearing the “crazy animal person” badge, just like the neighbor who called wrong on his actions.

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