Let me tell you about vile

Anger seemed to follow me around the yard yesterday – like a shadow I couldn’t separate from. And behind that blinding emotion lied a lot of other – more understandable ones, that I looked at during the night as I bottle fed a newborn kitten. 

On Sunday I read the word ‘vile’ and ‘scum’ many times as it reappeared on retweets and comments and in on-line discussions. In between these popular and over-shared posts the other vileness I’m used to popped it’s tragic head up as if to remind me ‘I’m still here!’. Will the real Vileness, please stand up? And it did. There is a lot of cruelty we deal with that we can’t share. So, one word with the same rigid meaning but misused/misplaced in one story: the one that wasn’t only stealing the vileness spotlight but taking a word I’m used to and applying it  to an experience that seemed so far removed from vile. Maybe words like ‘disappointing’ or ‘inappropriate’ might have suited the ‘hurt’ party better. And they did seem angry! What was really going on is only known to them? And yes, how can you not feel sorry that they see things in a way they don’t have to. 

And then I watched how so many people became consumed about this story and gave their time, their energy to what should have been a ‘back and forth’ conversation between one well-known presenter and a journalist. I don’t know, maybe I felt the word belonged to others: those who deal with the uglier side to life, those who try to remedy it, and maybe the real owners of such an ugly word belongs to those who actually live in ‘vileness’ every minute of every day until death does them part or when someone saves them when they can’t save themselves. 

And then I thought about what do we get from certain spreads – like a six-page-spread of a heavily pregnant presenter in her underwear or in a bathtub. How does it add to our day or our lives? Is it something we aspire to: to be photographed nearly naked for the some of the world to see? Whose life are we feeding? 

I know this sounds absurd but I wish some journalist rang me up or emailed me to ask me the name of the kitten I was bottle feeding to highlight the real vileness for these unwanted kittens born to unneutered cats. Thousands of kittens right now are lying on wet ground as the rain pours down, their mommies have gone to find food or maybe gone elsewhere – maybe she is too young to feed them or has no milk. Mice and rats will circle them and for a moment these new borns with their eyes shut tight mistake them for their mommy. Yes, it is vile and I even hate the reader of this to have to see these words. But changing what happens every kitten season and the very real suffering is something we all should want to intervene in. A baby is a baby: two legs or four! I don’t think I’m much different from you or anyone but what feeds the soul and the mind is ‘doing good’ – intervening in vileness. It changes not just our lives but saves lives. And yes, we can have that balance: dipping into the escapism of glitz and glamour and that celebrity gossip but maintaining that purpose to want to make a difference. There is too much vileness out there for what feels like a ‘handful’ of people to deal with. If there was a recruitment campaign – it could last forever as cruelty is on-going and constant: it’s like a fire that will never go out but the damage can be minimised by proactive extinguishing compassion. 

My heart went out to Niamh Walsh yesterday. I didn’t know she covered entertainment; I only know her for her dedication to highlighting cruel puppy farms. I know on a smaller scale what it is like to be on the receiving end of someone’s unwarranted wrath. I’ve had to threaten legal action on two rescuers (yes, who would believe?) who really were determined to push me to the edge and one nearly did. One was angry I searched for a dog they lost: she didn’t want anyone to look for the dog or it be known they lost a dog who they rescued from a yard where he lived with an embedded collar tied in a ditch. It took two days of walking fields and setting traps but we got him and brought him to the home that was home checked for him. She put it on social media platforms that I stole a rescue dog when I searched for a rescue dog she didn’t want found. The second rescuer simply didn’t like me and wanted to destroy my name. So it happens everywhere: some people don’t mind their own issues so they take them out (undeservedly) on someone else. 

Niamh Walsh wasn’t hiding in a ditch with a long lens; she did nothing different than any other entertainment journalist requesting information. I can’t see this presenter ever calling any of the more well-known names in the journalism industry ‘vile’. And it’s a great pity she threw that word at a journalist who exposes so much vileness. The puppy farm industry personifies the word. 

Back to Starling’s last kitten who passed away during the night. I can’t express the complete heartbreak when you make a bottle, put a heat-pad in the microwave and make your way to feed a baby, just a few days old. You can’t wait to see them, to see how they are, and you go on your knees to look into the crib, and you search for a breath and instead you find stillness, and you look at the warm bottle that you had for them. You look at his mommy who is confused and goes between ‘I need to go now’ to ‘running back in to be with him!’  Mixed emotions and reactions from a mommy who is a kitten herself. I had moved them to the main house on the yard as I felt the barking from the senior rescue room/yard was too much for them so I put them in a room upstairs in Pat’s house. It was quieter but below them they could hear all the comings and goings. Last night I put Starling in a carrier and put her last baby on the heat pad and put a little blanket over him. And we walked in the dark back to the cabin / catio where her journey began here as a young pregnant cat. It was a surreal walk in the dark – leaving behind a tiny soul but it would have been beyond cruel to leave her there all night. She is a different cat this morning: angry, hissing, unsure of her world now. 

So, I guess my point is this: Starling is not feral. She is someone’s cat and they didn’t neuter her and for a moment I’m going to be selfish and say this: you passed this on to me, nights of no sleep, other rescues neglected , bottle feeding kittens, trying to keep them alive, dealing with a grieving mother. You, who failed your cat, passed on this to me and set this beautiful little cat up to suffer. And yes, when done intentionally, it is vile. 

Here’s to Starling and her babies. She was the best mother who wasn’t ready to be one, and they adored her x

One thought on “Let me tell you about vile

  1. Wow, Catriona. So sorry to hear that the little kitten didn’t make it. Amazing article! I wish this would get the attention /reaction it truly deserves. That’ll be the day…


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