Monday, January 25, 2010

They're all good animals

Rusty died a few days ago.

She was my mother’s cat and she was 18 years old, although you’d never know it to look at her. She seemed a lot younger. Perhaps it’s because she was so little. Still, 18 years is a pretty long life for a cat. And I can assure you she had a good life.

Actually, she wasn’t my mother’s cat at all; she was my sister’s. But mom had agreed to take care of her when my sister moved away to Arizona more than 10 years ago. So even though Rusty wasn’t technically my mom’s cat, she was my mom’s cat.

My mother was crying when she phoned me to tell me that Rusty had passed away. She was heartbroken and she still is. She said Rusty had been a part of her and now that she was gone, she felt like a part of her was missing too.

She told me how she had been petting Rusty the night before she died and how Rusty had been purring. “Oh, how she purred,” my mother had said. Rusty was still warm when my mom found her lifeless body underneath the dining-room table the next morning.

“She was such a good cat,” mom said as she wept.

“I know she was,” I replied. I was tempted to add, they all are, but decided not to.

My mom loved Rusty; of that I have no doubt. And I know she’ll get over losing Rusty in time; the pain and sorrow replaced by fond memories of her. It’s just too bad that my mother couldn’t (or doesn’t) have the same empathy and love towards other animals.

You see, my mother loves some animals and eats others. When she hears of animal abuse on television, she’s appalled. Yet she refuses to make the connection when it comes to animals who are killed for food.

Perhaps if she was able to know the other animals, one from every species, the way she was able to know Rusty, she might feel differently. After all, the cow who was killed for her hamburger was such a good cow. The pig who was slaughtered for her bacon was such a good pig. And the little chicken whose throat was cut so my mom can enjoy her sweet and sour chicken balls was such a good chicken.

Maybe then she’d see that all animals are worthy of compassion; that they don’t need to die or deserve to die or want to die. She might come to the realization that they are all good animals, and the needless suffering and death of any of them is tragic; something to mourn and more importantly, something to stop.

The only way to do this is to go vegan.

Rest in peace Rusty.

And rest in peace all you other good animals.

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