Her cries pierce the darkness. Through the blackened halls, she wanders and calls their names, but only the silence replies to her. Confused, she searches their hiding places. Calling them as she travels from room to room. The panic in her voice growing as she finds nothing but emptiness in their usual hiding places. She cannot understand why they do not come to her. So on through the blackened halls she wanders. Searching for that which she has lost.
In helplessness I sit and watch. The pain in her voice unmistakable. She doesn't know what I know. She doesn't know of the cruelty that snuck in while she was out. She doesn't know that which she searches for is lost forever. Never to return to her. How I wish I could remove her sorrow. Could return to her that which she searches for, but it is beyond me. All I can do is offer her a kind word as she passes me in the night.
Every year we have a mother cat who has a liter of kittens on our roof. A couple months ago, she had her annual litter. The kittens are big enough now that they are starting to eat solid food, but not so big that they are weaned. There were four of them. Every day they would come downstairs into our room and eat dinner with us. During the night they would chase each other, play hide and seek, and enjoy the tiny bit of freedom they were denied during the day. Then when the mother cat returned from being out in search of food, she would call them and they would run from their hiding places. She'd bathe them and up the stairs they would go until the next night. Until three days ago.
Three days ago, they didn't come down for dinner. I thought it odd, but didn't think more about it until the mother cat returned and began to call the kittens who didn't appear from their hiding places. When she realised they were not there, her cries became panicked. A terror filled her voice and she has spent the last three nights crying. I'd never heard a cat mourn before. I didn't even know cats mourned, but the pain in her voice is clear. Her kittens were stolen. Taken from her while she was out in search of food for them. Now she sits and cries. It's heartbreaking.
I'm not a cat person. I don't like cats, but that doesn't mean I would harm innocent kittens either. I'm certain the kittens will have died unless someone takes them in. They aren't weaned yet. They aren't big enough to fend for themselves. But the way this mother cat grieves for her lost babies is just beyond words. As humans we tend to look at other creatures and see them as unfeeling objects. I'm no PETA follower, I eat meat, I've worn leather and even fur, but I don't abuse animals either. I think there is a fine line in this world and somehow I think the balance is starting to tip. Sooner rather than later.