reaping the cost of solitude

Friday, January 01, 2016

Cat Dies Alone on New Year's Eve

The Dead Cat (encircled)
This has been quite an eventful new year's eve. There I was - December 31, 2015 at around 11:45 PM enjoying myself as fireworks begin to light up the night skies, slowly intensifying as the last minutes of 2015 dwindle down to zero. I did my share of producing irresponsible amounts of noise accompanied by clouds of dense suffocating smoke with my 4 sets of lebentador (only donated, by the way). At a distance, I see a neighbor light up the skies with a 10-minute display of fancy fireworks - the likes could rival the ones they have in SM or Ayala - which probably cost him/her around half a million pesos (ugh, some people got money to burn). It's deeply humiliating to be standing in awe of the fancy display of lights while holding cheap, unsafe, and ultimately earth-bound firecrackers. I initially had second thoughts about whether or not I should bother lighting them, but I did and its puniness amused me.

But this post is not about cheap-vs-expensive firecrackers or the new year's eve revelry. This is about a cat. A dead one. Right about the time I lit the last set of firecrackers, I noticed something by the gutter right outside the house. There he was (or a she? I wasn't sure) lying lifeless by the drainage. At first I thought it was a simple case of roadkill - someone had run the poor thing over and left it for dead. But I did not see blood nor guts splattered anywhere. Then I thought this must be some elaborate prank by drunk neighbors visiting houses and throwing carcasses of dead animals by their gates for a laugh. It's the new year after all, and some people think normal rules of etiquette don't apply during these few hours of mayhem. But nope, not the case either.

I tried poking the thing with my slipper - no movement. Tried again, just to be sure (I had no plans of starting the year with rabies). Still no movement. I poked its tail with my fingers... and again... now twiddling it. Still no movement. I tried looking at its face. Its eyes were wide open with a bit of glimmer in them, and the carcass looked fresh - no odor, no ants nor anything feasting upon it. I was now sure this poor thing died only moments earlier, and I had to move it before it starts emanating an ungodly stink. I wasn't excited to get my hands on a fairly large dead and decomposing mammal right before the obligatory new year's eve meal, but I had no choice. I squeamishly grabbed and lifted the thing by its tail (by the way, it was surprisingly heavy; and its limbs were already stiff), hauled it across the road to a nearby cliff and threw it down below. Minutes later, I washed my hands and ate hotdog on a bun - with tomato ketchup.

It's now around 20 hours since our paths crossed (me and the dead cat, that is) and I still can't stop thinking about what caused its death. My best guess is it was probably poisoned from rummaging through our neighbor's trash - which was several yards away from the crime scene. Or maybe it was bitten by a poisonous snake (which is even worse). The CCTV footage was no help - it only showed the cat's last moments before death. The cat definitely came from the neighbor's heap of trash- it hastily ran from it and right to our front gate (9:31 PM). It then began its dance of death - squirming, crawling. Very spastic at first but gradually slowing down to a halt. It took 12 minutes before it finally succumbed.

The video footage can be seen below:

To the cat: 

I am deeply sorry you had to perish so close to the new year (December 31, 2015 at 9:43 PM) and I can't help but notice you were alone when you did. I hope you are running freely in cat heaven by now, rummaging through heavenly trash with your friends without any danger of being bitten by those darned poisonous snakes. I'm sorry that you had to endure ten minutes of agony. Honestly, if I found you spazzing out, I would've been too much of a chicken to do anything anyway. But I hope you find comfort that in an ideal world - where I'm unafraid of untamed rabid animals - I would've euthanized you by uh... I don't know. Strangling you? (There weren't any shovels nearby.)

I know it's useless to cry over spilled milk. Perhaps you just had to go out the way you did. I hope I wasn't too brash and insensitive by just throwing your carcass down the cliff like that (I was panicking). I hope your fall was softened by the thick bushes below. And finally, I hope your decomposing body provided much needed sustenance to the various insects and critters that inhabit the vicinity close to your grave - thereby completing the circle of life.

Rest in peace, cat.

Your frightened friend,

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