April 30th, 2005, 01:15 AM
a few days ago, I was traveling in my car about to enter the freeway when I noticed the cars ahead of me breaking and swerving around an object on the road. It was dark so I couldn't make out what it was till I got closer. It was a cat almost on it's back and it had it's legs stretched out in the air. I assumed it had just been hit by a car because someone had just pulled over to check for any damage to his car. I continued on, but I wondered could that cat have been saved? It was a sad sight because the poor thing looked as though it was crying out for help because it had all fours outstretched. I could tell it was still alive because it was still moving. I just didn't know the extent of its injuries. I did nothing and my concience was killing me. I went back the next day hoping a good samaritan rescued the cat, but sadly it was lying on the side of the road dead. And still, I continue to ask myself 'could it have been saved?' I own a pet and even if that cat was a stray, it still deserved a chance to live.
April 30th, 2005, 03:31 AM
I cannot answer your questions - I was not there. I know it is easy to second guess anyone, including ourselves but I wonder why you did not pick up the cat - carefully - and bring her/him (I kinda get frustrated when I see ppl refer to a cat or dog or bunny, etc as "it") to a vet or animal clinic? Was that an not an easy option (in the sense that it was a 4 lane highway and the median seperated you from it and the traffic was heavy?)? Were you afraid of cats? Afraid of blood? Afraid of disease?
My brother recently encountered a similar involving a cat on a busy highway where he lives in Saint John, NB. I won't say similar because it's hard to know and I do not want to judge. The cat had been hit by a car and was in the middle of the road - I cannot describe it because he did not give me those details. I just know he stopped his car on the side of the road and took out his warning signals (those triangle lights we use in the event of an accident, the name escapes me at present) and ensured his break lights were flashing on and off - tho it was daytime (around 6 PM). He rushed between the cars and picked up the cat. He tried to flag down a police officer but the man - seemingly uninterested in an animal - kept going. My brother took down the licence plate to report this callous disregard for life by someone paid by taxpayers' money to "serve and protect". (My brother also works in a similar type profession so was quite angry at this action and uttered more than a few choice phrases about this officer.) he then drove at break neck speed to the closest vet clinic he knew of. Fortunately, in this case, the kitty whiole severely injured, was able to have surgery and lived. He has since been adopted by someone the vet knew - my brother and his wife have a lab and a lassa apsa and were unsure how a cat would fit in to that mix tho they thought about it. But the vet's wife, who is a politician, knew someone who wanted a kitty so this little cat, estimated at about a year old - a spayed female who may have been dumped there - now has a good home.
The police officer was reprimanded for not stopping.
I cannot say what I would have done in your situation. I probably would have stopped and tried to save the cat. I realize that sometimes this things happen in neighbourhoods that are not the best to stop in but I was once with my dad and we were driving and saw an accident where a little girl was hit by a car. Knowing it would take rescue vehicles mega time to get there - and there was NO 911 as such at the time, just an ambulance from a hospital a half hour away - he stopped, helped both mom and daughter in the back seat. He yelled at me to get into the back with the mom and child and place my hand on her femur (I would not have called it that then- I was maybe 8 yrs old and had yet to study anatomy, lol) in such a way that it would prevent some of the blood from oozing out of one of her legs - it seemed to be the worst one affacted and I could see bone fragments. Thiss was maybe 1970 and I held myself up with my other arm - no seatbelts were on , I do not even know if the car had them?
I remember looking at the speedometer (and this was pre metric days in Canada - maybe I AM older than dirt, lol) and at that point, he was driving 110 mph!! (In retrospect, a way to create another accident). But my dad was always a great driver and thinks fast and we arrived at the hospital and the girl who fortunately had no internal injures, survived. She had many broken bones tho. Later, my family doctor and a neighbour (and my best friend's father) told me the little girl (who was about four or five) would likley have bled to death before the rescue vehicles arrived and the speed probably esnured she made it tho my own small part of preventing bleeding was a big help. (I felt about 10 feet high even tho I was barely 4' at the time). It was my dad who really did it all and thought of all the actions - I can't claim credit.
Anyway, thinking about that little cat reminds me of those two incidents and I am quite certain I would have tried to stop. Plus, I would have tried CPR on the cat - I did it on my bunny but he had suffered three heart attacks and was an elderly and very ill geriatric fellow beyond my help but it was like being in the ER and looking at the clock and not wanting to give up even tho deep down in your heart you know there is no chance. Plus he was my baby!
Tragically, the injured kitty may not have had a chance and I guess that's what you need to think. It is traumatizing to see anything like that and not all of us are good at coping with trauma or adept at moving and thinking so quickly. If this really distresses you, you might want to talk to a cousellor.
I don't think I could leave an injured animal anywhere and now that most of us have cell phones and 99% of our communities have some kind of 911 system, it's easier to summon help. I know my saying that may not help you but I have to say I find the thought of that little cat meowing for help and no one was there for her brings tears to my eyes! My 86 year old great grandfather died because he tried to save his little dog from a car that was coming in the beagle-terrier mix's direction and he managed to grab the dog in time but slipped on the ice and fell under the car and was dragged to his death. I better stop - this is dredging up too many bad memories!!
You may very well have a reason that seemed appropriate to you for not stopping - a neighbourhood that you were fearful of, an inability to cope with stressfuk situations due to a post traumatic stress disorder, something like that - but I find it heart breaking all the same. Did you have a cell phone? Could you have called anyone else?
The fact you have a concience at least means you care. You will never know if you could have saved her or him? Many cats do survive some horrific accidents. At the risk of sounding like a Priest, you may be able to cope with the loss of the cat better if you atone (might as well throw a Jewish word into the mix with Passover a recent event) with your feelings. You might volunteer at a shelter or take a course in Kitty CPR so if it happens again, you will feel more prepared. Or maybe if it was a PTSD problem, you could address that so you could cope better? (I am bothered by the thought of that lonely dying cat on the highway but I do not want to judge you, knowing many people behave erratically when faced with a crisis - I see it in my work. I inform at least one family a day their toddler/child/teenager has an illness that could kill them and some find amazing strenth they never knew they had and transform before my eyes and others are so devistated that they need as much support and help as possible from whatever servies we can provide them. Othere are simply in shock and deal with it later. There are a myriad of responses. So I guess while your concience is bothering you, you might lok into seeing how you can make sure you are able to help a cat or dog or person the next time something like this happens to you.
April 30th, 2005, 06:04 AM
I love animals more than people.
I think they have such an angelic spirit and give such unconditional love, that no human could even come close.( Humans should learn from them !)
Watching and knowing that an animal is in distress and just looking the other way well, speaks for itself. I hope to God that in the future, should you witness such a site that you would take the initiative to help.
I know that there are times when the animal runs away and it's impossible to find but if it's lying there on the road for a chance to get hit again or dies slowly, angers me thinking about it.
I hope you can find peace within you.
April 30th, 2005, 07:09 AM
Just reading your post made my stomache churn and my eyes tear,we are all made of different"stuff"but I know I could not have left a cat in that situation or any animal for that matter :sad:
You are obviously bothered by your inaction,or you would not have posted your question...I am not sure what kind of answer you expected,maybe one to ease your mind :confused:
Animals are killed every day on our roads,but this poor cat might have been rescued from a horrific situation,if someone had cared :sad:
April 30th, 2005, 07:20 AM
Last summer, a couple in California made the decision to stop and help a dog that had somehow managed to find himself trapped on the freeway. Due to the efforts of that couple and another good samaritan, the dog is fine. The couple lost a son for their effort. Seems someone speeding along didn't see their van and rear ended it.
In the U.S., freeway speeds are posted between 55 - 70 miles per hour. Most people go at least 5 mph over the posted speed. Not much chance of a dog or a cat (or a deer for that matter) surviving injuries from a ton of metal moving that fast. The fact that the cat was making no effort to get out of the road speaks volumes.
While I have been known to stop along side the road to try to help an animal, it certainly isn't right to take someone to task for not stopping to help. Stopping along the freeway to help a fatally wounded cat, that may be a stray with any number of serious diseases, is a foolish way to risk one's life.
If you feel quilty for not helping, you might consider making a monetary donation to a vet's office that treats strays.
April 30th, 2005, 12:03 PM
In the U.S., freeway speeds are posted between 55 - 70 miles per hour.
Actually the limits were changed a while back. Now it's 65-75. And yes, most people do about 80. You have a good point, Lavender (and great to see you on here again!!).
What a heartbreaking thread.
There is no way to answer your question, Heartbroken. I am curious to hear why you could not/did not stop. Was the freeway very busy? Would you have been at risk?
Years ago, I had just cashed my grant check for a new semester at college, and was on my way over there to buy my books, etc. A bird flew into my windshield and slid down onto the wiper, broken, mouth open and gasping.
I pulled over, bawling and apologizing, wrapped a sweater around the bird- and drove to my vet's office.
To make a long story short, the bird could not be saved, so I asked my vet to humanely end its suffering. In the end, he refused to charge me for the vet visit because: "Anyone else would have just turned on their wipers and kept driving, not come in here crying and ready to spend their grant money on saving a wild bird".
I'm not grandstanding here. I just wanted to suggest that there might have been a vet around who would have tried to help that kitty, whether it was successful or not, possibly even at no expense to you- just in case this was your reason for not stopping (worrying whether a vet would even see the animal, or if you could afford it, etc).
I know this doesn't help your current state of guilt, but in the future- if it is safe for you to stop- please do, and bring the animal to a vet. You'll never feel bad for at least trying.
April 30th, 2005, 04:54 PM
dont beat yourself up about it, take it as a lesson. you know how you feel now, pretty bad BUT use those feelings to spur you on in the future, for thsoe times your not sure, scared or worried. so in future jsut make sure you stop and assist whenever possible. we all at time have done something we wernt so happy with ourselves about, but we cant hang onto the anger, shame or sadness, we must use those feeling to make us better ppl and help those in need. i for instance accidentally killed a black snake the other month, i went back to assist but he was furious and trying to strike and i was 300km from anywhere, not a good place to be hit by a dedly snake, i tried to shuffle him out of harms way and contacted a widllife rescue service (they didnt do anything as he was 300km from anywhere and no one could come out that far). boy i wanted to die over that one, it was all my fault and i could not save him, but i have tried not to dwell, the snake is dead, i cannto reverse time, and i must use this experience to spur me on to help others in anyway i can (sorta like a karma debt that can be rectified).
please use this experience positivly to help you in the future, the cat is dead yes, but dont let its death be wasted. :grouphug:
May 1st, 2005, 07:58 AM
We had an experience a few years back,on the way to South Carolina(where the highways are littered with dead deer :sad: )
A young deer was hit by a car,the driver did not stop..but the deer ended up on his back,legs in the air,shaking...
Hubbie and I and another car stopped,covered the deer with a blanket and could feel him relax after a while...it was not long before he struggled to get up and ran off.Maybe he had internal injuries,but no visible wounds,just in shock from the whole incident....but had he stayed on the road,another car would undoubtedly have killed him...
May 2nd, 2005, 01:14 AM
Right-- sometimes it's just shock. I hit a rabbit and I got my work gloves out of the trunk and brought it to the side of the road. It was just stunned and ended up ok. There was also a bird that hit the window at my parent's cottage and I held that guy for hours and eventually, he just flew off.
Of course we don't know how long either lived after taking off, but I'm thinking on the bright side...
You can't go back to get the cat in this case, but you can promise yourself that that is the last animal you are not going to stop for.
May 10th, 2005, 12:57 PM
I heard a story in the news the other day about a man swerving to advoid a dog, lost control of his car and ended up killing his son. Sad story, sometimes these things can't be advoided. I keep my cats indoors as I live near a busy highway.
May 12th, 2005, 12:57 PM
It's sad that you say there were so many people braking and swerving, but not one stopped to get out and take the cat off the road. Don't beat yourself up..I can tell you feel bad and regret not doing something. We learn from our mistakes, right? In high school I came across this pigeon that was sitting outside, and I was walking up to it and it wasn't walking away so I thought maybe something was wrong. Not wanting to be "uncool" in front of my peers, I thought of picking it up and calling my mom to get it but I just left it where it was. After school I asked her to drive over and look for the bird, which we did, and it was dead in the parking lot..had been hit by a car. I was so angry at myself, felt sick to my stomach and started balling my eyes out. Since then, I have been in several similar situations, but now I always do what I know is right..I help the animal in need, no matter what the situation. A few years ago I witnessed a cat get hit on a 5-lane busy road and I got off the bus right away and ran out to pick up the cat. Even though the cat didn't make it, I was proud to have done what I could for it. Just don't be too hard on yourself..there's nothing you can do about it now, so just learn from it! That's what life's all about. ;)
May 15th, 2005, 11:34 PM
Since Heartbroken says it was dark but was able to see movement, I tend to think they were going pretty slowly and could have pulled over.
That aside, it's the driver who hits and injures an animal who should step up and try to rescue it. Heartbroken says it wasn't a hit & run, so the most he/she could have done is stop and make sure the cat would get some medical attention. Hindsight is 20/20 vision and if I were driving alone, I may very well have been afraid to stop at nighttime - especially if I were alone in my car. It's a tough call in these circumstances. I hope this post wasn't a hoax and Heartbroken will drop a line as to whether the answers helped.
CactusFlower's story reminded me of the blackbird I 'saved' from our dog Napoleon and rushed to the vet in a box. I would have been the laughing-stock of the waiting room if I hadn't been so clearly upset. Dr. Hamilton was a champ - he had a faint grin. Of course, the bird couldn't have survived but we all gave it our best shot! Nappy died years ago but he was a great dog. :angel:
May 15th, 2005, 11:39 PM
A few years ago I has a similar experience. While sitting at the end of an offramp, at a VERY busy intersection, I saw a little white dog limping across the intersection. It was obvious the dog was injured and it just broke my heart watching it. I was late for a golf lesson, and I sat there debating whether to jump out of the car and try to catch the dog and take it to a vet. Just as I decided to get out of the car, the light turned green, and everyone but me took off like they hadn't seen the little dog. I realized there was no way I could get into that intersection without getting hurt myself.
I went on to my golf lesson, sick at my stomach, and I even left early to try to find the dog. I drove all over the area where I had seen it, but there was no sign of him. To this day, I hope not finding him lying on the road meant he was rescued - hopefully, by his owner.
When I got home and told my husband about almost getting out at the intersection, he said, "ARE YOU CRAZY? DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED THERE?" Well, yeah, I knew, which is why I hesitated to begin with. Although I don't know what actually happened to the dog, all these years later, I still think of him when I'm at that intersection.