Monastery, Moscow patriarchate, eparchy of Kaluga region, Russia

You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed

Posted by kinovia on November 9, 2010

Feeding a kitten named Hercules

Feeding a kitten named Hercules

A gloomy October day towards evening. It was raining. A car stopped by the church and a man and woman got out holding a kitten. They looked around and hesitated when they saw the sign telling people not to abandon kittens, that it was a sin.

An elderly nun who witnessed the situation sighed, turned away from them, and a new arrival was added to our cat pride. Our foundling was washed, dried and named Rosa. The skinny, miserable creature turned into a lovely cat. To tell you the truth, this happens over and over again, but there was a most unexpected outcome on this occasion.

After three months the people who abandoned the kitten returned to Baryatino. The couple brought 13 kilograms of dried food and many other products for cats, explaining that they were conscience-stricken, that their act was un-Christian. They explained that they had found this wet and dirty kitten on the road and couldn’t take it home as they already had a cat and a dog. Then they noticed a road sign pointing to our convent and decided to leave the kitten there. Well, you already know what happened afterwards.

Unfortunately this is only the second case when people who left a kitten became conscience-stricken and wanted to help the convent, to atone for their sin. The first such incident happened years ago. People we hardly knew secretly brought their kitten to us. The animal was seriously injured, it had fallen from the 8th floor. They left the kitten in our garden without letting us know. Our nuns retrieved the kitten, treated it, and after a while the disabled cat turned into a beautiful creature. Although unfortunately he never fully recovered from his injuries. When Tishka’s previous owners learned about this they contributed a state-of-the-art sewing machine and later a washing machine to the convent. Afterwards they regularly brought cat food and gave donations. By the way, their cat hadn’t even tried the food, he only ate fresh meat. Tishka usually disappeared when his previous owners visited the convent. Only once did he haughtily accompany his former owners to their car, although he followed his new mistress, a nun, everywhere. Tishka lived in our convent for eight years before he died.

We are currently looking after 57 ‘foundlings’. Each of them needs to be fed twice a day, cured of fleas and worms, treated for viruses (inevitable among cats), sterilized, etc. It’s even hard to count the cost. And nobody cares how much time and energy the cats require. Moreover, the nuns are busy with other work in the convent.

To be honest, the conditions in which our cats live are far from perfect. We cannot provide them with a warm and spacious ‘home’, good food, etc. We keep leaving notices asking people to adopt one of our cats, but unfortunately lots of people decide instead to get rid of their existing pets and ask us to take in another one or two kittens, sometimes even more. Not long ago a woman came and demanded that we take in three adult cats that previously belonged to an elderly blind lady living in the countryside. When we refused she was furious. Certainly we feel great pity for homeless animals, but unfortunately we do not have the means to shelter all of them – our ‘cat family’ is far too big as it is.

There is a convent in Cyprus famous for looking after homeless cats. Due to generous donations the cats live in ideal conditions. There is a spacious shelter for the cats, the animals are well fed and have all they need. Alas, our situation is quite different. We ask for your help because we have insufficient money to keep our cats. There was a fire in our convent. The building where the cats are kept has no roof, it is still being built. Our conscience does not allow us to have the cats put to sleep, and we can’t abandon them. That famous quote from ‘The Little Prince’ is addressed not only to us. ‘You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed’…


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