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"I first loved cats and only cats. The rest weren't noticed. I saw the animal world as if looking through a tunnel of cats. I didn't think in terms of issues...

I had a cat when I was small which was allowed to live in the house, until she cleaned out her own litterbox. My mom didn't take too kindly to that, and the cat was thrown outside to live with the rest of the animals.

We had more cats outside, and rabbits in hutches, and a little 'farmette' with a cow and some chickens. A rat chewed the foot off one of the poor rabbits living in the hutch, he never went to the vet. He survived, probably until the warbles got him. Everyone got warbles, even the cats...I came out one morning to see our gray cat's blood all over the porch, and no sign of the poor guy again.

My father probably buried it before I could see it. It was a time like that, and still is for many people today. Hide the bad things from the kids, to "protect" them. Meanwhile, the children grow up never learning to deal with death, never learning to be there for an animal or human in the time of death.

When we moved to the farm, we had our chained beagle and a lab running the countryside, but I still didn't much notice, since they weren't cats. We were not allowed to have any animals in the house, but whenever Mom would go into town, we'd sneak the cats and lab into the house. The poor chained beagle, Maggie, never got off her chain, never got a chance to see the inside of a house. She smelled, and even though I felt so badly for her, I made no effort to get her a better life. I wasn't taught to think for myself, and I was too afraid to stand up to my parents.

As a result of sneaking them in, the cats started to hang out by the door of the house, wanting in all the time, which drove my mother crazy. She complained so much that my father took them all out and killed them, except one token cat left to assuage his guilt, I'd imagine. He denied it, of course, but I wasn't that stupid. My mom admitted he'd done it..."

This work shows a child who's starting to become aware of the harsh realities
dealt to animals in our world. She would never think to do anything about it,
but she's starting to 'see' the animals.

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