Day 40 of #LiveWell2017
Paul McCartney once said, “You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.”
The cat in this photo is nicknamed “UK”, meaning ugly kitty. He was a stray cat that came to our back yard several years ago. He was beat up, gashed across the face and neck, hungry, and ornery. He desperately wanted food and attention but couldn’t stand being touched – or even looked at. My husband took one look at this scraggly monster and fell in love with him. From that moment on, UK became his project.
He put out food and patiently waited nearby as the cat came to eat. He carefully touched the tail, then the rump, then the back. One finger at a time. He took cotton swabs and covertly dabbed antibiotic in the wounds he could reach. After weeks of patience and perseverance, UK finally rubbed his face against my husband’s leg. Then he let him scratch his forehead. He was still wild and wary, but he was making progress.
Months later, I would go out to the back yard and find my husband sprawled out on the back deck, UK curled up on his chest, sound asleep. It was the ultimate reward for his patience and kindness. UK never did like being picked up or held, but he was able to trust my husband enough to find a few moments of peaceful rest.
The depth of kindness my husband showed that cat was – to me – extraordinary. But that cat’s life was enriched beyond measure by it. We don’t all have to make a project out of a mangled stray cat, but we can all treat the animals in our lives with kindness. Whether fish or fowl, cat or dog, snake or dragonfly, pig or horse or cow, all animals deserve to be treated with respect.
Here are some ways to be kind to animals:
- Don’t step on bugs or slugs when out hiking.
- If a spider or bug gets in your house, gently collect it and release it back outside.
- Avoid using pesticides that harm honeybees.
- Don’t litter. Litter trashes the habitats of wildlife.
- Give wild animals space. Don’t crowd or harass them.
- Be gentle when handling pets.
- Volunteer at a local animal shelter.
- Be patient with your pet.
- Don’t keep wild animals as pets.
- Go vegan.
I have a petless friend who makes wonderful homemade dog treats and carries them around with her when she walks around her neighborhood, treating all the dogs she meets along the way.
What ideas do you have for being kind to animals?