Today I got a leaflet through the letter box. It said in large, red letters at the very top, REWARD. I watched the person who dropped the leaflet through the door and noticed that she was pushing a bulky, old-fashioned baby buggy. She'd left the baby and buggy in the street and had walked into the drive to leave the note at our house. I watched her leave with a bundle of leaflets in her hand, to go to my next door neighbour and to the rest of the people in my street.
I read the note which had fallen on the mat. It was the best 'lost cat' ad I'd ever seen. After catching the reader's attention with the word Reward at the top, the ad went on to say that the cat was 10 years old and was sorely missed by its companion (another cat) and a sad little boy. The ad urged readers to search in their sheds and outhouses to make sure the cat hadn't been locked in by accident.
The leaflet saddened me because I know that sick or injured cats usually go away from their families to die. I suppose they want to spare their families the trouble of arranging funerals and going through the process of grief. Granted, there's nothing like a funeral agent or crematorium where pets are concerned, but the emotional expense can take a lifetime to recover from.
I wondered if it was kinder for this woman and her family to live in hope that one day their cat would return home, lick his paws and purr for his favourite bowl of food, than to suggest that maybe, her much-loved cat may already be dead.