The day before yesterday, we noticed we hadn’t seen our cat Mickey in over a day. She’d usually go out and about on adventures, but she would always come home. Almost every night between 3am and 6am, I’d get a scratching at my bedroom window, and Mickey would be there waiting to be let in. After not experiencing this for a couple nights, and no one in my family seeing her at all, we knew something must be up.
We went around the neighbourhood to see if we could find her or any trace of her, but we had no luck. Yesterday after work, I went down to Whitby Animal Services, where I learned the bad news. It didn’t happen at all like I expected it would have.
I got there and told the very large man that I was looking for my family’s cat. Ken and I went to check out the cages where all the cats were, and Mickey wasn’t among them. I asked about the worst-case scenario, and he said “let’s check the roadkill book”. The last entry in the book noted a “domestic long hair gray cat” that was trapped and put down because it was considered wild…
I asked him if he could tell me where it was caught, but he said they weren’t allowed to release that info. He did, however look up the traps that were lent out and he told me the trap was borrowed by someone on Garrard Rd, which is very near our house. When he wasn’t looking, I peeked at the form and saw the exact address, which is a house almost right behind ours.
Ken was a nice guy, albeit very vulgar, tossing out f-bombs, calling women “broads” and ranting about a lot of things both job-related and not-at-all-job-related. He explained the situation like this: basically, the people were having some sort of nuisance issue with a cat coming around. This could be that the cat was digging, shitting, or spraying on their property or perhaps fighting or tormenting one of their animals. Usually, Animal Services would recommend that the people find the owner and either confront them or get one of the officers to go and speak with the pet owner to warn them of the problem.
In our case, we don’t know the people since they live on another street outside our subdivision. Mickey didn’t have a collar, so there was no identifying information. At that point, the people borrowed a trap from the town, caught Mickey and brought her in. She had no way of being identified, so there was no way to contact us. Ken said based on the report, the cat was considered “wild” and therefore had to be put down. Typically, a cat won’t be too happy being in a cage, so they let it calm down first before attempting to let it out and put it into a holding cell. A well-behaved cat would normally be held for seven days, but Mickey was a bit crazy, and I could see that she would probably not co-operate very well. He said if after several attempts to handle the cat, it still won’t calm down and poses a danger to staff or other animals, it will be deemed wild and put down.
I almost wish she had just been hit by a car or something. Mickey was about 11 years old and still had some years left. Instead, she was put down for reasons she had no control over and couldn’t understand. I can’t help feeling partially responsible, since we didn’t have a collar or any other identifying marks on her (like a microchip or ear tattoo). There’s a lesson to be learned here. Make sure your pets have a collar with some sort of ID on it. Registering your pet with the town or city is also a good idea.
I hate to think of what her last hours were like, being scared, trapped in a cage. Instead, I’ll try to remember the last time I saw her – she was laying on my stomach, purring as I petted her head.