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I killed a cat yesterday.

Not on purpose and not personally, but nevertheless it has had me really down and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it all day.

I wasn't even sure it was a cat, it was so dark, and there was a moment when it looked like a rabbit* and its eyes reflected in the headlights as it raced straight for the front side of the car, and then it was thumping under the wheel before I could brake or swerve or even react more than to cry out. I stopped but I couldn't see anything behind me, couldn't find it, couldn't think what to do, before shakily driving on in tears and in shock.

Coming abrupt and awful, immediately after one of the most relaxing and convivial evenings I've had in awhile, it really threw me.

Over and out, just like that, with no warning, no meaning, no conclusion. Just a thumping and a stopping and a silence.

Intellectually, I know that cats are a dime a dozen, that the average life span of outdoor cats is vanishingly small, that if I HAD swerved I would have been likely to have endangered or injured myself, but still I have found that that silence has coated my whole day today with sorrow for a small life so violently interrupted.

*It wasn't. It was a cat. I called the friend whose home I was at, whose village I was still in when it happened, and she found it this morning.
mood: sad
music: Pete Townshend—Give Blood


oh, Liz, I know just how terrible that sudden glimpse of eyes and then a thud is, your heart just stops. John Donne talked about the loss of any man's life diminishing him, but I expand that to any living, breathing creature. Even if it's not intentional (and how could anybody do that intentionally), it really does get to you. I wish people who let their cats out with the trite phrase, "It's in a cat's nature to roam" knew what it felt like to be the person that took that roaming cat's life? I know they certainly feel grief when it doesn't come home, but if you're going to keep an animal, then keep it safe.

I'd be crushed, too. Sorry that happened to you - and to the cat.

I'm sorry to hear that. It always makes me so sad to see dead cats by the side of the road, like we did this afternoon. I wish people didn't let their beloved pets go outdoors like that.

Hugs, Liz.

Once, at dusk, I was on my way home up the mountain in Idaho, when I accidentally hit two stragglers of a row of fluffy new pheasants following their mother across the road. I was heartbroken even though logically I knew that it would have been foolish to swerve.

Someone said to me, "It's nicer that it was someone who cared." I don't know if I agree, but on some level it helped a tiny bit.


Oh, I'm so sorry, Liz. :(

I hit a dog once; it wasn't killed or fatally injured, but still, I know how it stays with you.

As you know, we recently had a cat get hit, so I know the other side, too. I'd love to keep all my cats as indoor cats, but the truth is that some cats just won't go for it. Right now we have two indoor/outdoor cats and one exclusively indoor cat. I tried to keep Ola indoors as well, but he wanted so much to be out that it didn't feel right to keep him cooped up inside. Yes, the Bad Thing did happen ultimately, but I try to console myself with the thought that, though short, his life was a very good one. He would not have been nearly so happy if we'd made him stay inside for ten or twenty years.

How horrible! I'm so sorry that had to happen to you. I know you must be feeling just terrible.

Tears have come to my eyes, too. I know, I know that feeling, that experience. I'm so sorry it happened to you.

I'm so sorry. That is so sad.

Oh Liz,I'm so sorry this happened to you.

i'm surprised that i haven't had to go through the same thing yet. i often see cats lurking by the roadside, looking like they are about to scurry across when i come driving. the only thing i've hit (and possibly probably killed) so far is a pheasant. not pleasant that either, but less traumatic than a pet. :-(


oh honey,

I am so sorry-- that is an awful feeling. Just awful. Sending you so much love and care--- hugs. bluepoppy

I'm so sorry too. :( What a horrible sinking feeling when there's nothing you can do...

I had the exact same experience once. I was on the highway driving home from work (I worked the second shift at an insurance company and it was probably about 10pm) and I don't know what a cat could be doing there, but there was nothing I could do to prevent hitting it. It really stays with you in a very sad way.


While I feel some sympathy for your plight, I can not say that I feel all that sorry for the now dead cat. Feral cats are a huge problem in many areas, and the amount of damage that they do to the local wild life is enormous. While it isn't the cat's fault that it is feral, the death of a feral cat is not a great loss. The people who set domestic house cats loose on the unsuspecting wilderness should be shot, and die a painful death, much like the wildlife suffers at the claws of the cats they've unleashed.


This would break my heart, too, even though one of the first things I was taught how to drive was this: DO NOT SWERVE FOR ANIMALS. My dad made it very clear that he didn't want to bury me simply because I didn't want to smash a squirrel (or, in our part of the world, armadillos and possums. Those animals have a death wish.) Kitty cats are just so precious. I'm sorry this happened to you.

I hope you go snuggle that sweet puppy and feel better.


I know, me, too and I probably wouldn't have swerved even if I'd had time, but still. Pheasants have a death wish, too.

Cat killer

I killed a pigeon.
I am quite sure it was a pigeon, as it was a direct hit. feathers flew everwhere and I saw him spin off into the other lane - no chance he survived. one less sewer hawk in the world. at least in Italy.

I was just cruising down the highway heading towards Bolzano, when the damn bird appeared in the middle of the road. I say just appeared because the car ahead of me actually drove over it, without touching the thing. at 130km per hour pigeons dont have much of a chance.

Bummer about the cat.

Hasnt gotten me down, (the pigeon, that is, I would be bummed if I hit a cat) as I know intellectually that there are about 8 billion extra pigeons in the world. and I am not sure if they actually bring any amount of good to the world, besides eating all the damn bird seed that tourists throw to them in San Marco Plaza in Venice. Anyway, I hardly gave it a second thought, until I read this journal entry, and it reminded me that I too am an animal killer.

What I do find disturbing is that your friend went out looking for it.
Thats just morbid, reminds me of an acquantance that took pictures of road kill as he traveled across America one time.... those were some sick pictures.

Keep your chin up Liz,

Re: Cat killer

It was because I wasn't sure after it happened if it was a rabbit or a cat, and it was right near her house, and probably belonged to a neighbor, so I wanted her to be able to let them know what had happened if that was the case.

Re: Cat killer

a clearification here: i (being the "morbid" friend) went out looking for it about 10 minutes after she called me, to check if it was injured or dead. although i was sad to report to liz that i found the cat dead i am glad that we at least know it met with a quick death instead of a slow one.

having said this, i did post a picture of a headless toad today in my own journal, so i am indeed a little morbid. :-) i had nothing to do with the missing head though...

Re: Cat killer

I was glad you could confirm that it wasn't lying there injured and suffering as well, even though I sort of wish I wasn't sure it was a cat. I'm not going to even go near your headless toad pic! *boggle* EW

Re: bird killer

I hit a bird once too, or rather, it hit me. I was driving a 15' truck and so I was up kind of high and it just flew right into the windshield. That didn't bother me really, not at all in the same way as the cat.

Re: bird killer

I've hit birds, too (or rather they've hit me, as you say) and once a pheasant, but the only time it bothered me was when it was a couple of little brown birds, tumbling along, obviously a mating pair and they flew right in front of the car and only one of them was hit, leaving a pathetic pile of feathers in the road behind me while the other one flew on alone. :(

Oh no! I'm so sorry, that must have been harrowing!

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lizardek's obiter photos
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Feeling generous? Be my guest!

I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

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