The first question that comes to mind when reading a headline such as the one above is “How did things turn out? Well, the fantastic news is that all is well. The kitty survived thanks to the efforts of a 10 year old boy who saw a man throw a box from a bridge into the river below. Instead of just walking away, the 10 year old’s natural instincts took over and he decided to watch and see what would become of the box.
As the box floated down the river, it headed towards the shoreline and managed to stay afloat in the current. Here was an opportunity for the young boy to see where his natural instincts would take him. As the box came closer and closer to the shoreline and the noise of the rushing waters began to fade, he heard the faint sound of a cat’s meow. It had come from inside the box! He carefully moved towards the water’s edge and pulled the box ashore. Looking inside, he saw a cat that looked distressed but otherwise was just fine.
Taking action, he then called police and told them what he saw. The description of the man was unfortunately vague but the description of the cat was exactly what the boy had seen. This mini-adventure that created a true rescue animal! Animal control was called to take care of the cat and make him available for adoption. Police filed a report and asked for the public’s help for any information to identify the apparently wayward man.
This search and rescue moment took place in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and it leaves a number of questions open for animal lovers all around the world to think about. The first and most obvious is why. What is the mentality of a person who would throw a cat (maybe their cat?) into a river yet create what amounted to a crudely constructed boat into a raging river? It seems clear that the man wasn’t trying to murder the cat because the cardboard boat managed to stay afloat for some time before safely reaching the river’s edge. It was part of a plan, not a random act of feline terrorism.
It is important to note that this individual action is not the norm for how people in the community of Bridgeport conduct themselves. There was considerable sadness among members of the community when finding out about the incident and a healthy amount of interest in finding the perpetrator. The act was not just “another day in Bridgeport” type of act. It was a very poor reflection of what the city represented both to those living outside and within the community.
Another question is whether the man intended to drown the cat. It seems clear that the boat was created to allow the cat to live, and the man didn’t hang around to watch what would be the final demise of the cat. He walked away, though was seen by the boy before getting too far away. Again, this was part of a plan. The box was constructed at the man’s home, and from all the available evidence was designed to stay afloat, at least for a while. It may have been that the man could no longer take care of the cat and decided that rather cut it loose on the streets of Bridgeport, cast it over the bridge with the hope that someone, such as the 10 year old boy, would find it and give it a good home. The box wasn’t weighted down, so presuming evil intent may not be the right response when reading this story. Turning the cat loose on the city’s streets may have left the cat with slim hope of survival as it may have ended up being run over by a car or killed by other animals. It may have been the lesser of two evils, but this does not exonerate the poor decision by the man.
Too much credit can never be given to the boy. He could have kept on walking. He could have ignored his natural instincts. Children are naturally curious, and as much as there are times when that curiosity gets them into more than a little trouble, there are times like this when that curiosity is rewarded with a new insight or revelation. In this case, it resulted in the saving of the life of an innocent, helpless animal. The world can use a few more of these types of people, who just don’t go through life, selfishly thinking only about themselves and their own well-being.
When it comes to our pets, w often take their presence for granted along with the love and affection they provide on a daily basis. We rescue cats and dogs from animal shelters and have done our good deed for the day or week, but months or even a year later we forget the real reason we did it in the first place – to provide a safe and healthy environment for them. There are the vet visits and expense, the adjustments the family needs to make to ensure our new family members will feel comfortable in their new environs with the least amount of stress. Unfortunately, the newness often wears off and our pets are ignored because they have become an all too familiar sight in our homes.
Before you go, pause to consider how much value our pets have as we walk out the door to go to work and leave them to find ways to keep themselves busy and entertained. Add another thought to how many other animals need to be rescued. And let your last thought about your furry (and sometimes furless) friends be that when you return they will be sitting on a window sill or waiting by the door to greet you when your return. Because of one boy’s choice, there is a new opportunity for a cat to be added to a deserving home and will be seen on a window sill in your neighborhood.