Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Little Pixie Named Tinker Bell Finds Freedom

Is it said that history repeats itself because no one was listening the first time or is it because humans never learn? Bad practices persist not only by the fault of those who don’t know any better but also by the silence and indifference of others who are aware of
what’s wrong, and who are present, but just don’t care.

Four years ago, I bought little Cinco, a less than two month old kitten from one of the pet food sellers at the flea market. She was in such terrible shape, so forlorn, bewildered and
miserable that I didn’t ask him that many questions. All I wanted at the time was to get her to safety and provide her with extremely needed vet care as quickly as possible. It took her months to recover; she was malnourished and sick, severely infested
with fleas, had a heavy parasite load, and her tail was broken in several places, on top of everything else. I knew the man who sold her to me should’ve been stopped, but how? This is Serbia, where even the laws to protect citizens
are weakly enforced and the animal welfare laws are more or less just empty words on paper. Selling animals is not forbidden, I don’t believe anywhere in the world is, although most of these pets for sale are purebred or at least resemble purebreds. Selling
moggies at ridiculously low prices seems wrong on so many levels but as long as there are sellers and buyers, the pet trade persists. I did wonder what happened to Cinco’s siblings, she must’ve had some, but I could only hope all of them ended up in good

Be as it may, the entire episode somehow faded and slipped out of sight. Cinco had managed to grow into a beautiful, sweet, loving kitty whose full and sparkling life was cut short at the age of two. The rough start
she had may be related to her premature passing, and the memories of her are still sharp and painful, so I simply couldn’t bear to think of that kitten seller who might’ve caused so much sorrow until I met him again less than 10 days ago. The same market stall, the
same old rusty birdcage and a new tiny kitten within.

This time I wasn’t surprised but appalled and furious. The conversation started out calmly, but when he told me that he had several cats at home and wouldn’t ever think of getting
them spayed as he could sell all of their kittens for less than five euros each, the discussion turned into a heated argument and my rage escalated. I called the Communal Inspection and only then, he suddenly stopped talking about the sale and handed me a little
frightened tuxie girl, five or six weeks old.

When times are hard and money’s tight, people with no ethics and no honesty behave as if anything is justified. Selling wee babies that didn’t choose to be born into this cruel world where ignorance and
indifference run rampant, taken away from their mothers much too soon, without any preoccupation of their future is not just irresponsible but utterly immoral and wrong. If there’s any justice, there will be no more Cincos, at least not from the
same source. And in the meantime, little Tinker Bell, finally safe and fed, is surrounded by love while learning what a kitten’s life should be like.

She was probably born to one of those neglected outdoor cats, poorly fed and provided with zero vet
care, kept with the sole purpose of hunting mice and reproducing. Their life span is usually not very long and a replacement has to be available at any moment, should something happen to the any of them - and it does. Profit made from selling their
babies is an additional bonus, in this particular case. But little Tink had no way of knowing she was considered to be something, and not someone, and that her value was determined by price only; all she knew was that she was scared, hungry and lonely and
that there was no Mom around. She was screaming her lungs out while I was taking her to the shelter, possibly wondering what sort of new horror would be next. The fear in her eyes was a plain reflection of too many bad experiences in such a short time, for such a
tiny, vulnerable creature.

But kittens are intrinsically happy and playful by nature, young enough to forgive and forget. Even on that first evening in her new home, after a tasty meal, she began to investigate the
surroundings with a curious sniff, already a lifetime away from a desolate and unpromising morning. She is undoubtedly spoilt rotten but irresistibly charming and sweet, a lively little kitty girl with a white milk moustache who is now venturing out into the world
carefree, with her recently built self-confidence, joyous heart and shining eyes, eager and ready to live a dream.

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