Dear Irresponsible Pet Owner

Dear Irresponsible Pet Owner,

I buried your cat today.

No, I didn’t find her dead at the side of the road, although that is the final sad (and unnecessary) fate of far too many animals in White County.

This was the cat that you put in a laundry basket with her four kittens and dumped in the woods outside Helen.  I doubt that you could have been any crueler.  You left a nursing cat and her six-week-old kittens without food or shelter in a harsh, unforgiving environment where their only options were starving to death, freezing to death, drowning, being terrorized and killed by roaming dogs or wild predators, or finding their way to a busy highway where they could become road kill.

There simply is no excuse for what you did.  Whether financial hardships or divorce or family illness or forced relocation or some other extenuating circumstance prompted you to do this, abandoning helpless animals is never the right solution.

This story doesn’t end with your intentional mistreatment of this cat and her babies.  A kind and caring person found the “garbage” you’d tossed in the woods and brought them to the Charles Smithgall Humane Society.  Even though the shelter was stuffed to the point of bursting, they took in your throw-away cat and her kittens.

The staff and volunteers at the shelter did their best for all of them, but it was obvious that the mother cat was not doing well.  A simple blood test revealed that she had the feline leukemia virus, an insidious illness that severely cripples the cat’s immune system — and one that is almost always transmitted to kittens through the mother’s milk. Yes, all four of her kittens also have feline leukemia.  There is no treatment or cure.

Because you failed to have your cat tested for this virus and to have her spayed, it is a virtual certainty that every kitten she bore is infected with feline leukemia.  Given her age, it is not likely that this was her first litter.  Bad enough that you chose to cast these five specific animals aside like rubbish, but your irresponsibility has guaranteed that many, many more cats in this vicinity are carriers of this incurable feline disease.

When their leukemia positive status became known, I brought all five of the cats to my house.  The mother had one last night in a warm, safe, quiet home.  She was too weak to walk, too weak to eat, too weak to even make a sound.  This morning, I took her to my vet’s office where she was compassionately, humanely euthanized.  She slept away peacefully in my arms. Your piece of trash became my beloved pet, even if only for a few hours, and I wept bitter tears for the horrors she was forced to bear because of your thoughtlessness.

Then I wept again with tears of joy as I witnessed a sweet, sentient creature transformed from a pain-riddled relic of her former self (she weighed under five pounds — less than half of what the vet estimated her healthy body weight should be) into a blissful angel, released from suffering and free from the hell on earth you forced her to endure.

I brought her body home from the vet’s office and dug a grave for her near those of my other pets.  As I tossed each shovelful of dirt in the hole, I made a conscious effort to bury my anger towards you.  It’s certainly too late for that anger to do any good for her, and I know it is only a corrosive acid that would eat away at me if I chose to hold on to it.

So, I forgive you.  Not because you deserve forgiveness for the unconscionable thing you did, but because I’d rather use my energies for good and positive things.  You see, I have these four kittens who need someone to love them and play with them and take care of them, and their time on earth is likely to be quite short.

I just wanted you to know I buried your cat today.


Jane Vollbrecht
Cleveland, GA 30528

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