Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My trauma

I had an animal trauma. This happened the night before Cinder died but I haven't been ready to share it until now. 

I was driving home from work. It is a 60 km/37 mile drive as we live in the middle of no where. We live in the hills off a road that is curvy and hilly. The speed limit on a lot of it is 90 km/ 55 miles. After driving this road for the past few years, I know all the hills and curves.

The night in question, I was driving behind someone who was making me crazy with the going fast and then slow. There aren't a lot of good places to pass so I was practicing patience (something I need a lot of help with). There were at least 2 cars behind me, not tailgating but following close enough that I had actually thought I hope I don't have to slam on the breaks.

Suddenly, out of no where, a cat came darting onto the road. It happened so fast I had about one second to decide if I try and swerve to avoid it, slam on my breaks, or hope and pray.

What to do in this kind of event has been on my mind lately for 2 reasons. One - we have a lot of wildlife in the area and I am a planner. Two - in a recent case in our province  a woman was found guilty of manslaughter for stopping her car for baby ducks on the road. A motorcycle came around the corner, couldn't stop, hit her car and the passenger died. Mainly because of this story, the Man and I talked about, if it is small, you can't risk your life of the lives of others in cars behind you. If it is big (like a deer let's say), you actually have a choice to make. I do feel horrible putting myself ahead of animals in this way, but I think knowing I killed a human would be much, much harder emotionally (not to mention I would be fine with never going to jail and that a criminal record may take my livelihood away).

So I picked hope and pray. Unfortunately the cat didn't turn away and I hit it. I can say the cat died quickly and will spare you all the horrible details. I cried and wanted to throw up, but know I did what I had to do in that situation. I know if in the exact situation again, I would have to make the same terrible choice. I do feel terrible and take responsibility for my actions, but I also feel angry at the owner for having an outdoor cat and putting me in the situation where I had to decide which lives to risk. I am working on letting this anger go because judging others is not productive.

Almost exactly 12 hours later, we said goodbye to Cinder. I can tell you, the cat accident was harder for me. Also, even though I tend to have atheists tendencies, I felt like maybe this was the universe evening out.

2 hours after Nin died, I was reminded of the circle of life and the irony of life. A co-worker sent an email saying she had rescued a mother cat and 3 kittens and was looking for homes for them. We declined to take one, the reasons why to be explored in another post. But for a second I laughed. I didn't laugh because 2 cats had dies, no I laughed because for some weird reason in a 14 hour period the universe surrounded me with cats. What are the odds?!?!?!?!

RIP unknown cat. Please know I grieved your death like you were my own.

Angel Bagheera because I needed a reminder of a peaceful cat and the joy of cats


  1. That is always a tough choice and as hard as it is - you made the right decision. Many years ago I was behind a car that swerved to miss a dog, the car hit the curb and trying to correct the driver ended up hitting a car coming the other way - the driver lost control and ended up on the sidewalk hitting a lady with a baby in a pusher. The baby survived and sadly the lady died. As much as I totally love and adore all pets and wildlife I made the decision that I would never swerve to miss and animal if there was traffic on the road or people nearby. I have had a couple close calls over the years and thankfully haven't hit anything but that scene will forever be in my mind.

  2. Hari OM
    My heart goes out to you. Having once, long past, hit a deer in the hills of Scotland and come close with kangaroos in OZ, I know the dread, deep, stomach-sucking feeling. The deer got up and limped away and I did report it to the Wildlife folks (there were no repercussions for me - but who knows for the deer?) but for some time after I was on extreme high alert when driving.

    I was a little curious about the case you mention; presumably the bike was blind to the stopped car for some reason - manslaughter seems an extreme response (without knowing the detail, of course). Anyone who lives and travels rural areas truly ought to know that round every corner there is risk potential - though I do note here in Western Scotland, even on our single lane tracks, that 'locals' are inclined to become complacent and make no allowance for newcomers, tourists or even just other locals. Sirens are heard surprisingly often for a giant area with fewer than 5000 residents.

    With darling Nin you had a chance to 'prepare'; nothing can prepare us for the suddenness of such as this experience. You are absolutely correct, though, in acknowledging the cycle of things. I do hope that you continue to resolve this pain and that you can release the anger also. Blessings and hugs, YAM xx

    1. Hari Om
      Thanks for the link 'Lady' - have no email contact for you to follow this up; have compared UK law with Ca and there is some 'looseness' in the wording your way. Also researched the case further (it's a vaasana (inherent trait), what can I do??!!) Suffice to say, I still have concerns at the severity of sentencing... but this is merely an intellectual pursuit on my part. It's done; I feel for all concerned.

      Pertaining to yourself, I quite understand why this would give the 'heebie-jeebies'; it is just awful that we have, as a race, reached that state where we literally have to shut off our regard for other living entities. In diminishing them we diminish ourselves; all the logic of the greater good is fine but does not at all make it any easier on our hearts and minds. It is a glory that we are sent the joys to balance the sorrows; the news of the kittens would surely have provided some small salve. Again I send blessings and hugs, YAM xx

  3. I'm so sorry that this happened to you... and even when it sounds silly I still feel bad for the fox I hit in 1992... I played the scenario in my head again and again and pondered if there was a different choice for me to avoid this accident. Hugs to you... :o(
    easy rider

  4. Mommy hit a squirrel once when she was first learning to drive with a learners permit. She remembers her dad just telling her to drive straight instead of swerving to avoid it -- because there was a car on the opposite side of the road and a car behind them. Mommy hit the squirrel. She had to pull over, and her dad had to finish driving because Mommy was an emotional wreck. In Blogville, we always joke about squirrels, but deep down inside Mommy is still sorry for the squirrel she had to hit. Mommy was hesitant about continuing to learn to drive, but her dad got her thru it, and she drove again.

  5. Sometimes there's nothing you can do. Had you slammed on the brakes, you might have been rear-ended by one or more of the cars tailgating you. Had you swerved, the guy behind you might have sped around you and killed the cat, maybe even running into you in the process. As you said, it was dark, you had people on your back door, and the person ahead of you was speeding up and slowing down (either lost or trying to talk on the phone). Trying to save the cat might have caused an accident that would have left more than the cat injured or dead.

    I do know how you feel, though. Mary will slam on the brakes to avoid hitting one of the kamikaze squirrels that run into the road, and feels horrible when she hits one anyway. We love animals, too, and it breaks our hearts when we see one that didn't make it. But it happens. It's terrible that there are so many homeless cats (or cats whose owners let them run wild) that meet ends like this.

  6. That happened to Momma once. She was on the freeway and had a car behind her, a car on one side, and a concrete barrier on the other side. Nowhere to go for her or the poor kitty. She cried and cried. :( But she did the right thing, and so did you. You can't risk a whole car accident, putting yourself and others in danger.

  7. My grandpa always told me when I was a beginner driver to never swerve for an animal, I have often swerved...just because I reacted...there was nothing you could have done, you have done enough just by caring so much.
    stella rose and momma

  8. Oh my goodness :( What a hard situation you found yourself in. I have only ever accidentally hit one animal while driving....which was a squirrel, and that was bad enough for me:( I am so sorry!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  9. So sorry and sad for you and cat. You both were put in the spot at the exact time. You did not have a choice as to stopping ~ sadly the cat could have chose not to cross the road but the cat chose to take his life into his own paws. Sounds like in replaying this over in your mind you are punishing yourself for circumstances that were out of your control. Please let go of your pain.
    Thanks for being a friend
    Sweet William The Scot

  10. Oh, that's a terrible thing to happen! Ghostwriter often refers to the local wildlife as the Future Roadkill Club of America, because they seem to practically jump in front of cars and trucks even if there is no other vehicle for miles around! Almost everyone in our family has hit some animal or other, especially deer. Why do they have to cross the road at just that instant? If they waited one second, they would be unharmed! It's a mystery!

  11. There was nothing else you could have done. You are not alone - mom hit a squirrel once. He was almost across the road then turned around and ran right in front of her.
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  12. Mom used to be a casualty claims adjuster for a major insurance company and she told us that you made the right decision. It is hard but when you have to decide in less than a second, it was the right thing.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  13. This was a hard decision to make but you did what was right, My mom hit a squirrel once. Im glad that your talking about it cuz thats the first step in starting to get over it.


  14. I am so sorry about both kitties. :( It's so hard when you hit an animal. I've had the unfortunate experience a couple of times and it's never easy. The deer I just bumped and it got up and ran off. The bunny wasn't so lucky. The bunny darted into the road, went back off the road and then suddenly came back out. I've also hit a bird. Every time it's absolutely awful and I feel so bad.

  15. Our laws require that we run over the animal, rather than cause an accident. BUT, SHE always stops...luckily, there have been no times when that choice has been dangerous. Occasionally, there hasn't been time to make a decision and the animal is hit. No matter how small the life, SHE feels terrible.

  16. We're so sorry you experienced this. A long time ago, our mom had something like that happen to her. It has stayed with her ever since. In fact, right afterwards is when she became more aware of animals in shelters and rescues and she vowed to help other animals as much as she could. Purrs.....

  17. I'm so sorry. :( That's got to be an awful experience. I've never hit anything (knock on wood), but I had it drilled into me since 15 years old to never stop for something smaller than a deer.

  18. So sorry, that you had to experience this. I had a similar experience a long time ago. I had two young girls in the back seat of my car and they asked what we had hit, I told them that it was nothing just a box or something on the road. I didn't want them to worry or be sad. I was upset enough. I still think about it but I think I made the right decision not to swerve.

  19. You brought a tear to my eye. I have been through the same. We send you our love and strength and know that you did what was right, even though it hurt.
    Nellie's Mom

  20. Crikey ..... you poor thing!! Where we live cane toads are a BIG problem and people swerve all over the road to run over them. Can you believe that??? Disgusting my Mum says. She's been driving for over fifty years and managed not to hit a thing until just a few weeks back when we were out in the bush. She ran over a bandicoot and was devastated. She's still worrying about that bandicoot and hoping it didn't have babies at home.

  21. You did the right thing, it sucks but it was the right thing. Stop beating yourself up and be angry at the situation, people need to be responsible pet owners.

    Aroo to you,

  22. Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry, what a horrible thing to have to go through. Please be gentle with yourself, you did what you had to do.


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