Slow Down and Think!

Our sweet boy:


There were lots of tears shared between us today as we buried our beautiful tabby who had just earlier been purring in our arms. A neighbor found him this afternoon lying dead at the curb. We hope he didn't suffer!

Speeding cars on our quiet residential street have prompted us to yell a few times, but losing a pet has really made us advocate for animal safety and awareness.

It's easy to get caught up the daily routine without really paying attention to the details. After a day at work, we just can't get back home soon enough! The freeways and boulevards are clogged with the rush-hour traffic, so when we've reached our exits, we are champing at the bit to put the pedal to the metal. Slow down and think.

Our cars are insulated capsules of comfort with temperature control, bluetooth, and surround sound which can make us oblivious to the squeals of playing children or the commotion of cats, dogs, and wildlife. We are behind the wheels of powerful killer machines. Slow down and think!

Perhaps the driver that hit him was texting or reaching for his coke, it was just a couple of seconds that took his eyes off the road. The shameful part was the blatant disregard for what had happened in this hit and run. "Out of sight, out of mind" for him in driving off, but a family has been heartbroken because a beloved cat will not be patiently waiting on the porch when the kids get home from school. Please, slow down and think!

Be Aware:

Be aware and prepared to brake. Millions of cats & dogs are killed on the roads each year as well as birds, squirrels, and other animals. At night it is often hard to stop in time. By the time we see glowing eyes in the darkness, it is too late. As a driver, be aware of areas where animals are likely crossing roads and slow down. Human encroachment into wilderness has forced animals onto highways and into neighborhoods to forage for food. No one wants to be forced to slow for a series of speed bumps, so use common sense.

Consider Safety Precautions:

Pet owners should keep animals indoors or in secured yards, especially after dark. Reflective collars and ID tags further protect them and get them safely home.. Consider having your pet micro-chipped. Secure dogs who ride in the backs of trucks too. They climb to the edges of the truck bed and can be ejected into oncoming traffic during sudden braking.

Most importantly, if you should accidentally hit an animal, think of the consequences. Many injured animals slink off and suffer before dying. I drove away once because I was afraid. It was 40 years ago, and it still haunts me to this day! Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Accidents DO happen, but it's your actions that count. If dog or cat is injured, take it to a vet or call for help. If you have killed a domestic animal, consider covering it up or moving it to the side of the road and call city services for animal removal. If the animal doesn't have ID tags, posting signs nearby for the animal's owner to contact you for info is a way to give them closure. The easiest thing to do is to drive cautiously and remember to slow down and think!!!

Pet Safety on New Year's Eve, the 4th of July and other holidays:

Animals, especially dogs, are frightened by the sounds of fireworks and other noisemakers. If outside, they may get anxious and try to escape from enclosed yards when their humans are away celebrating the holiday. If possible, provide a place where animals can hide and feel safe. Since we don't have a doghouse, we put a large blanket over our patio table to create a tent for our dog. Cats like to hide in closets and under beds. When driving, remember that scared animals may be running around in areas where they are unfamiliar with the flow of traffic.

Give wildlife a brake. . .

Here are some great tips from the Humane Society for driving in areas of wildlife and handling accidents:

Reflective pet collars save lives.

There are many safety collars for dogs and cats which have fluorescent strips sewn into them. There are also reflective ID tags. Both are widely available on-line and in stores. This simple investment could save your pet's life!

Rest in peace. 3/25/2011

Three years ago a neighbor and I trapped a group of feral neighborhood cats by enticing them with cans of tuna. They were neutered, vaccinated, and released back into their familiar environs. One of those cats was Rusto.

He could have been the model for Kliban's cat with his closely-set eyes and resting posture like a meatloaf. He was interested in everybody. Rusto was street-smart, trusting, patient, and kind.To him our block was a progressive buffet. Whether he adopted us or we adopted him is unclear and unimportant. We were blessed to share our home with him. We've always known that keeping a cat indoors is the best way to insure its safety; however, Rusto was a roamer and preferred to share his affection with our neighbors especially the lonely widows that treasured his visits. Whenever the doorbell rang or the mailman came, Rusto would greet that visitor with a kind brush against the legs and a trot alongside. We saw to his vet visits and vaccinations, but he belonged to all. He was an ambassador of goodwill to our neighborhood and truly one of a kind.

Cat Heaven:


In life I loved you dearly

In death I love you still

In my heart you hold a place

No one could ever fill.

If tears could build a stairway

And heartache make a lane,

I'd walk the path to Heaven,

And bring you back again.

Our family chain is broken,

And nothing feels the same

But as God calls us one by one

The chain will link again.


© 2011 Catherine Tally

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Comments 18 comments

epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..obviously for someone like me who loves his two cats as much as life itself this is a tough hub to read without choking up with emotion - my two cats are my best friends and I live for them - Little Miss Tiffy is the diva and she is 14-15 years old (she was my mum's cat) and Mister Gabriel is a deaf white cat and the one I adopted to drive Tiffy up the wall - lol - and I hug them both everyday and tell them that I love them --- thank you for writing this heartfelt story along with the tender poem - you are a dear soul - and as I can tell - a lover of all creatures great and small!

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 5 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Thank you, Epi! I appreciate your heartfelt comments and sympathy.

I can tell by your profile picture that you and your cat are best frends. My baby girl Pepper is a 12 yr. old Tortie that we rescued when she was 5 mos old. She is my dear companion. We buried our sweet boy in the garden where he liked to hang out, but we still notice our empty porch each time we come home. The pain,though, will never keep us from adopting another! Cats are just too irresistably precious :>)

Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 5 years ago from Cape Cod

It is difficult for non cat people or non dog people to understand the connection that we have with our feline and canine friends. When I count the GREAT friendships I have had over the past seven decades, I find that the number includes two dogs, six people, and ten cats.

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 5 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Billrrr- Thanks for your comment. I definitely agree with you. I'll even admit to a little distrust of people who don't like pets and animals. :>)

Deb Welch 5 years ago

What a wonderful Hub to read. I truly love cats and all animals. I have a short-hair Tabby with Maine Coon Cat and she was rescued. Rusto is in Heaven. Thank you - I voted Up with Beautiful.

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 5 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Thank you, Deb, for your nice feedback. We know Rusto is at peace and often remember him with smiles. I have another feline baby who is 12 (the one in my hub photo)

I'm with you in sharing a love for all animals- especially cats. They help us to see the world in a totally different perspective! I'm happy to have you following me!

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

Hello--I found this hub via my front page, and one of the people I follow, " now following..." I knew by your screen name that I'd found another fellow animal-lover. Glad to make your acquaintance.

This was a beautiful, albeit hard-to-read poem. I could scarcely read the final lines through a mist of tears.

Also, my most sincere condolences on your loss of "Rusto." He sounds like a wonderful treasure the neighborhood shared.

Thanks for being part of the TNR "team" and being responsible and caring. This was a wonderul hub with a vital message!

Voted up across the board... well...all but funny...this is not's serious, and I thank you again.

P.S. .. I agree with you about not quite trusting folks who don't like animals... ;-)

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 5 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello DzyMslizzy! I'm happy to meet you too and am delighted to have a fellow cat/animal lover as a new follower! Thank you for your kind comments about Rusto and my tribute to him. We still miss him as he would trot in each day for food, affection, or a quiet nap between adventures. The garden is happily growing around the spot where he was put to rest. I am looking forward to reading your hubs.

cabmgmnt profile image

cabmgmnt 5 years ago from Northfield, MA

Nice sentiments here. I am an animal lover, too. I live on a very busy road and have to be ever mindful of my pets. Losing a pet this way is sickening to deal with.

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 5 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi cabmgmnt! It breaks my heart to see pets wandering near busy streets, and we have seen too many casualities. As much as animals like to be outdoors, cats should not be allowed to roam unless one lives on property w/ large acrerage and no vehicles. I let my girl out for short periods only when I'm home to supervise- fortunately she is street smart on her own, but another threatening stray could chase her into oncoming traffic. Thanks for your kind comments.

Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

I could weep, my condolences for your loss. We have four cats, and your pic looks like our "Frodo." Words cannot express how much my husband and I adore our felines...they are so loving and nonjudgmental. Wonderful animals, all of them. I wish I had the means to rescue all cats from the shelters around here. Blessings, Sparklea

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 4 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi Sparklea. Your kind words mean so much! Thank you. I still remember how Rusto would come and go with his non-stop appetite. Our dog still misses him too!

We laid him to rest under our lilac tree which is forming its Spring buds now. I think of him as the garden flourishes. I'm with you, I too would rescue all the orphans if I had the means. My heart is certainly big enough! Hugs to all your sweet kitties and blessings to you and your husband as well.

Sparklea 4 years ago

What a lovely note! THANK YOU. Our cat Sylvester is an orphan. My husband and I were at a mall out of town and heard meowing under a car in the parking lot and we found Syl hovering on an axl by one of the tires under the car, crying and crying. We both crawled under the car on our stomachs trying to get him, finally I grabbed him. We brought him home, got him neutered, shots, and he is our lover now. Martha, a stray, jumped into my husbands truck at a gas station and rubbed her nose in his face. So our limit of only 2 cats turned to 4 without our even blinking! No way could we have left either one. Everyone has a story I guess. People say, "you don't NEED another cat!" WE say, that's right, but THEY need us! Blessings, Sparklea :)

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 4 years ago from Los Angeles Author

I won't go into too much detail, but after I had to put down an adopted stray Tortie years ago, I had an unusual and inexplicable encounter with a Tortie kitten while on the road on vacation. It wasn't until several years later that I realized the Lord had been preparing me for the adoption of my current baby who is now 12 yrs old.

wwolfs 4 years ago

So sorry to hear about your cat. Very painful to lose an animal you love and have made a part of your family. It is so true how those last few miles are many times rushed to get home and without thinking. That is why they say many accidents happen close to home. Some just don't think and really need to slow down in a residential area. My best to you.

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 4 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi, wwolfs. Thank you for your thoughtful message. We still miss our boy, and the kitchen is painfully silent now when I open a tuna can. My other dear cat is interested in chicken-only! We are all in a rush at some time or other. I'm guilty of it! Losing our cat has trained us to be more aware. I appreciate having you as a new follower.:)

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

So sad that you lost your much loved kitty. I am sure Rusto appreciated the love and kindness you showed him. I hope he is frolicking now in greener pastures.

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi FlourishAnyway,

Thank you for your sweet and compassionate comment. I'm sure Rusto is in a good place now. A butterfly bush grows where he is buried in our garden, and he would be delighted to see the winged beauties flitting about!

My best,


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