Abandoned cat at a San Antonio gas station

She sat next to the entry, holding still for pets, caresses, and scratches under the chin. She purred at a more intense stroke, reaching her head up. She nuzzled my hand. I went into the gas station, thinking she must be their pet, but then I realized such cats are usually inside, so I asked. She was not theirs. This mother cat had appeared about a week before, apparently dumped at the freeway Shell station. People had been feeding her the remains of their Big Macs and fries. She waited where she had been left. And waited.

Once I knew, I couldn’t leave her, so I picked her up. She came without protest, turning slightly so I saw her hard, enlarged breasts, recently milk-engorged. She was a mother cat, separated from kittens a short time ago. Some cats are on the far side of tame, but not this one. She was kind, affectionate, ready to purr at the slightest stroke. She curled in my lap as we drove the remaining 12 miles into San Antonio.

Who would abandon their cat at a freeway gas station? Who would abandon their cat at all? Or their dog? Some get left at rest areas, perhaps by owners who imagine someone will come along and adopt them. Mostly they wait, starving, until they are hit by a car, or slowly die of thirst. They could be taken to shelters, but maybe that is too much work for these inconsiderate people. Or maybe they cannot face the certainty of what might happen at a shelter compared to the uncertainty of abandonment. The pets pay the price of this conceit.

Others give their lives to caring for these discarded lives. In San Antonio there are several no-kill shelters, the Humane Society, Animal Defense League ,  and a site with other listings, mostly about dogs. In Austin, my daughter volunteered at Austin Pets Alive often. It even leashed up dogs for joggers to take for a run along the river trails. There is also a San Antonio Pets Alive.

Cats and dogs have been bred for tameness for many generations. They do not do well on their own. It is not good for the environment for them to be left alone. Dogs form dangerous packs. Cats kill birds by the thousands, so even tame ones should be kept inside. Both need loving homes and must be neutered. Those wanting pets can get great ones at the local shelters.

The story ended happily for this tabby. I called a friend who happened to be in San Antonio for her daughter’s graduation from wonderful Trinity University. She had a friend who had a sister who fostered cats and dogs. After much back and forth and effort by loving strangers, they found a home needing a cat. Chris came to Trinity and picked the abandoned mother up. She will be spayed, allowed to recover, then join a family with three children. She has just the temperament for kids, tolerant, relaxed, patient, happy to be petted, and very willing to purr.

I hope I don’t come across another abandoned pet soon. This one was lucky, but I can’t help thinking of all the others and of the human inconsideration and desperateness that would cause this suffering.


About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
This entry was posted in San Antonio, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Abandoned cat at a San Antonio gas station

  1. Was just talking to someone about my girl cat Annapurna. We adopted her from a shelter 11+ years ago. We went to the shelter and there was one cat hissing and scared and in the back of her cage. I knew immediately nobody would adopt her. So I had to. She is a little bit feral/feisty, but I am so so glad we took her home …

    • We also got our cat at a shelter. She was a calico, just friendly enough to let you know she liked being in the family. We missed her a lot when she died suddenly at 14. We kept her body in the freezer until my daughter came home from college and we could give her a proper funeral and burial. It was a little odd to have her in there with the various birds we found dead and meant to skin and stuff sometime. Now the kids are grown, the pets are gone, except for the 13 cent feeder minnows we gave a permanent home to in St. Louis.

    • Our feisty little rescue kills moles and other rodents. Rarely birds. He will not tolerate being locked inside. Somebody should create a cat farm and fund it by clearing properties of rodents. “Cat Ninjas, Mole Assassins” TM

  2. don'tdisplayaname says:

    As an animal activist, I’m always surprised when I read posts like this, where the writer seems surprised someone would abandon an animal. It is an overwhelming problem and a heartbreak those of us who rescue animals live and breathe every day. I’m glad this situation ended well for the mother (unless she has the highly contagious feline leukemia or feline AIDS – another problem with outdoor cats). Your compassion gave an innocent animal a chance at a better life. Unfortunately, the kittens most likely starved to death or were killed cruelly. (No, they did not find nice homes.) Thank you also for pointing out that cats cannot fend for themselves. Another myth people hold about cats.

    Thank you for speaking for this sweet cat through your lovely blog.

    • Thanks for commenting. You are right that I shouldn’t have been surprised because animals get abandoned all the time. But I do not understand it, given the availability of shelters. I hope this cat did not have the cat diseases you mentioned since she was not living around other cats, but at a gas station. If only people would think before they adopt an animal, think before they let their pet reproduce, and think should circumstances mean they cannot take care of their pet any more. Pets belong in our homes, not outside where they can get hurt themselves, and hurt the natural environment. I hope by writing about this one cat I have helped someone else think before treating a pet irresponsibly.

      • don'tdisplayaname says:

        Each time someone writes about this issue and with such eloquence as you did, it’s bound to do some good. Things are better than they were ten years ago, so I choose to believe we will evolve. Thank you, again. Sorry for the confusion with the name on the first comment. WordPress kind of chose “dontdisplayname” for me. : )

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