I had a really bad night last night. You might well laugh at me, especially if you don’t like animals, and I don’t really know why I got so upset but I did.
I was really tired and had gone to bed, and had been asleep for probably a couple of hours when Diesel came in. R was already asleep. Diesel miaowed and miaowed and miaowed and miaowed and miaowed, with that very high pitched squeaky voice that he uses in the night when he only wants me to wake up.
Before I’d gone up I’d cleaned their dishes ready for the morning and put down some fresh ‘crunchles’ for when he came in. I got out of bed and he purred and purred all round my ankles, so I put him onto his blanket next to his ‘poundy pillow’ – an old pillow that he loves to purr at while he’s making puddings in it with his front fists.
I got back into bed, and he left his pillow and jumped straight up onto the window ledge. Sometimes he can do this almost silently, but when he wants me to notice him he seems to bang all his elbows and rattle everything on the cabinet he uses to bound up there, making sure that I hear all the thumps. I ignored him.
Next thing I know I’m getting the plaintive “meeeeep”, “meeeeep”, “meeeeep”s that he uses when he wants to go outside and the cat flap is locked. Wearily I got out of bed to let him out of the window. I don’t usually because we like them to be in at night, but I just had to get back to sleep. People ask me how I would cope with sleepless nights with a baby – I’ve had them for two and a half years!! I love our cats to bits of course, as regular readers will know.
I opened the window and he turned his back on it. I got back into bed. This time the meeeeps were even fainter but somehow even more piercing. I got back out of bed and he rushed at my ankles, pushing me towards the door. I thought that I’d have to give in and give him some soft food. Since he had two chomping teeth out earlier this year he can eat the hard stuff and loves it, but still prefers soft food. Then he rolled over on the landing and wanted to be tickled. This is about midnight by now.
I did so, and walked past him, resigned to having to go downstairs and get him some food. He started to play with one of his balls. Bubbles knew what was happening and rushed to join in, which also made me cross because 99 times out of 100 if she eats anything late at night it bounces in her stomach and comes straight back up again and I have to clear it up. The pair of them nearly tripped me over in their excitement, and without looking at what I was doing I grabbed a sachet out of the box, ripped the top off and grabbed it with both hands and roughly squeezed out the contents.
“There you are, for goodness’ sake eat that and be quiet!” I muttered, bad-temperedly. They fell upon it with purrs and gusto. Then as I threw the sachet into the bin I looked at it properly. The meat that I had just crossly squidged contents into their bowls was rabbit.
I had often been sorry in the past that animals have to die in order that others can live. It is the way of the world, I know that. I know that my cats can’t be vegetarians like me. But somehow, because I had treated that sachet so roughly, I felt utterly disrespectful to that rabbit.
That poor creature who had been born, lived – for how long? In what conditions? And had died how? Just so that I could bung it in front of my cats so that they could enjoy a midnight feast. I was already upset as I left the kitchen, and in tears before I even reached the stairs. I didn’t want to wake R so went into the spare room, and somehow I just couldn’t stop crying. Not just for the rabbit but for all the animals who die so that others can live. How many lambs, chickens, cows, rabbits, geese and turkeys have died so that I can feed them to my cats? I just couldn’t stop thinking about them. What colour was that rabbit that they had just eaten? What sort of life had it had?
I was crying for what seemed like hours, but when I looked at the clock it was 1.30am and I was wide awake. The cats came up and found me, Bubbles purring near my head and Diesel settling down at my feet. I must have gone to sleep eventually because the 6am alarm woke me.
Not the best night I have ever had!