Here it is, Labor Day weekend coming up, nice Oregon weather forecast, outdoor eating time! And I can’t find a good recipe for fried cat. Damn. Been trying to figure out why Google, for once, has failed me. Best I could do was a song parody, and a warning that if you’re selling fried catfish, a partially burnt out neon sign isn’t good for business. I’m beginning to think that fried cat isn’t a very popular dish.
But fried chicken…over a million search results, and plenty of recipes. Funny. Aren’t cats and chickens both animals? Aren’t both non-human? Don’t both lack the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that American Homo sapiens citizens enjoy? So why do so many people eat chickens and apparently nobody eats cats?
Having been a vegetarian for nigh on twenty-five years now, and having written a non-commercial book (“Life is Fair”) that was published in India about the spiritual rationale for vegetarianism, I’ve given a lot of thought over the years to such questions. Yet it never ceases to amaze me how people dearly love to care for some animals, and dearly love to eat other animals.
For a few days this week we were the quasi-owners of Kitty, the non-creative yet utterly apt name I called this gentle sweet soul who was sitting in our carport when we returned from Indiana. Kitty was hugely happy to see us, even though Kitty and we had never met before. A few pats turned on the purring, and we were instant good friends.
With the dog coming home from the kennel the next day, we didn’t want to encourage Kitty to stay around. So, reluctantly, I didn’t feed her/him. Laurel phoned many of our neighbors to see if Kitty belonged to them. No luck, but we learned that a similar-looking cat had turned up at the house next door about a month ago.
Seemed that someone had dumped a couple of unwanted cats out in the country, as so often happens. Hopefully there is a special (hot) place in hell reserved for these folks. With all the coyotes around here, a tame house cat with no place to spend the night indoors isn’t going to last very long.
When Serena came home, we soon learned that Kitty was disturbingly unafraid of dogs, even a dog lunging at the end of its leash, eager to have some fun with a new cat toy. So Laurel eventually had to spray Kitty with a hose to get her/him out of our yard and Serena-snapping range. As luck would have it, the phone rang not long after a soggy Kitty had darted into the brush.
One of the neighbors Laurel had called was interested in adopting Kitty. They recently had lost a cat to old age, had seen Kitty briefly hanging around their house, and thought she//he would be a good feline replacement. A cat carrier was brought over to our house in hopes that Kitty would make a re-appearance.
That evening, no sign of Kitty. I called and called, using the best name I knew: “Here, Kitty, Kitty.” Bowls of dog food, cat food, milk, and water were put out. Still no Kitty. I felt terrible. After a month roaming the countryside Kitty finally had a lock on a good home, and I visualized the cat now being run over by a car or eaten by a coyote, all because we chased Kitty away with a hose.
Fortunately, Kitty showed up the next morning. The dog food was a big hit, and even the organic non-fat milk was palatable after some finicky sniffing. I fixed her up in the garage and Laurel phoned the adopting family. A half hour later Kitty was bundled up in the cat carrier on her way to a new home. Nice to have a happy ending to an abandoned cat tale.
But there are so many other unhappy endings for other animals, the animals dog and cat lovers unthinkingly eat every day. Do you know how pigs, cattle, chickens, and the like are raised? Do you know how they are killed? Before you go to KFC, or fill up your shopping cart with some fryers, take a look at this Kentucky Fried Cruelty web site.
We’re not vegetarian zealots. I just feel that people who claim to be animal lovers should consider whether they really are, if they eat meat. Meat comes from animals, you know. And animals don’t like to be killed. If you think they do, take out a butcher knife and start to slit the throat of your dog or cat. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, spend a little time pondering the consistency of your philosophical position.
“I love some animals. I have other animals killed for me so I can eat them.” Doesn’t make sense to me. Does it to you, really?