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That was your warning. And now….for my rant!  If you follow me on other social media you’ve already heard this particular rant so I’ll apologize ahead of time for boring you.

This is my baby, Tippy. He is the sweetest cat known to man.

He’s also a fairly silly cat. He loves my husband.

This is three out of the four brothers who came to our home looking for protection from the elements.

There’s the fourth brother who tended to like to sleep by himself instead of snuggled on Mark’s lap with the others.

The four brothers came to our neighborhood via the people who lived a few houses up. The mom (in all her wisdom) took them from a friend of hers whose cat had just had a litter. She couldn’t get rid of the four males so my neighbor took them. Then she promptly dumped them in her back yard for her kids to play with. The kittens were constantly showing up at my house and hanging out in the back yard, which is very strange because I have my large dogs who live out there. Teeny kittens should be freaked out by enormous dogs, but they weren’t.

We were constantly taking the kittens back to their house. It was like the kids were on constant rotation to return the kittens to their owner. I took them back one evening. It was starting to get dark. I put them in their little doghouse that the owner had in the back yard for them and then headed back home. Before I made it to my door all four were there at my feet. Whenever me or any of the kids were in our yard these little ones would come scampering down to say hey.

They were young. Barely six weeks old. Far too young to be roaming the neighborhood by themselves. My frustration at this woman grew tremendously within that first week of the kittens showing up. The irresponsibility about made me insane. On the morning that I found all four kittens playing in my front yard…the yard that is on a very busy street…I’d had enough. I rounded them up and marched up to the neighbor’s house and had some words with this woman about the dangers of the busy street. I informed her that I had lost a dog to that busy street and I couldn’t, in good conscience, do nothing to try and keep the cats safe. Her response was that she’d put a doghouse in the back yard for them. They had food and shelter. They were CATS. She didn’t feel like she was required to do anything further. I told her in no uncertain terms that she needed to do something to ensure the kittens safety or I would!

I was so upset that I was shaking as I drove to work. I couldn’t bear the thought of coming home from work one day and finding one of those babies dead on the street.

Not too many days after my conversation (albeit onesided conversation) with my neighbor we had a horrible Missouri thunderstorm. Wind, rain, thunder, lightning. I opened my door that goes from my kitchen to the garage so that I could shut the garage door and I noticed a furry little grey kitty head peak its head out from around my tire. He was sopping wet and I reached under and picked him up. Then a second head poked out. Then a third. Then a fourth. I opened up the door to my house and walked in with the one I had already picked up and the others made a mad dash for the door. They must not have wanted to miss out on the opportunity to get inside where it was warm, safe, and dry.

I took the babies downstairs where Ellie (my Great Pyrenese) was relaxing and held one of them up to her. She sniffed at him for a moment, then took him out of my hand and carried him off to the corner and began licking him. I watched for a moment to make sure she was bathing him and not deciding whether or not he would make a tasty snack. When I was convinced she was mothering him I set the other three down. One by one that great big dog took the babies and cleaned them off. She spent the rest of the evening corraling the kittens and keeping tabs on them. It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. My kids and I were in awe at the scene.

I never returned the kittens to my neighbor after that night. I bought litter boxes, litter, food, toys and I began my search for good homes. I had not planned on keeping any of them. Mark and I are NOT cat people. We’re dog people! Always have been. Always will be. But those kittens melted my heart and we decided to keep two of them. The one in the picture above that’s sleeping by himself and Tippy. One of the people who took one of the cats decided she wanted two so that they wouldn’t be lonely as they got used to her place. They are the most spoiled cats on the face of the earth. They live on a big farm in Southeast Missouri. The runt went to a friend of one of the kids. She had been looking for a cat and they were a perfect match.  We kept Tippy. I felt good about keeping those babies safe.

Fast forward to this week. I was working in my garden Wednesday night and noticed my neighbor’s young daughter playing in the back yard. She was lugging around a very cute little black kitten. Right out loud I said, “What the fuck are they doing with another cat?” It’s been six years (maybe a little longer) since the first fiasco with them and cats and I was really hopeful that they have changed and would be better pet owners.

Yesterday morning as I drove to work, right in front of my neighbor’s house, was their cute little black kitty… dead in the street.

There are not adequate words to describe the seething, anger, frustration, sadness at this pointless death! It was all I could do to not pull into her driveway and have words with her.

Hug your pets, people. Hug your pets!

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