Sometimes it’s better to ask for advice before doing something…

As I was wandering around my backyard recently, I came across a dead cat. It’d been dead for at least a couple of days as it was covered in flies and starting to decompose. A common response from a normal person might be feelings of sadness or disgust, but not me. I felt a sense of curiosity, and a little confusion.

I wondered of course what happened and how it got there. I also wondered how a dead cat could smell nearly as bad as a living cat. It should be noted that I am NOT a cat person (I HATE the smell of a house with cats, cat pee, litter boxes, etc.). Despite my dislike of cats, I wondered if it belonged to someone who was missing a pet. I felt bad a child might be missing their furry friend (even if it is a disgustingly furry friend). I then wondered why it chose my yard to die in. After poking at it a bit to see if was really dead, and staring at it looking for any obvious causes of death (cat CSI?) or identity tags, I then started thinking, “What do I do with it?”

I once ran over a dead bird by accident when I was mowing the grass. I didn’t put much thought into what to do with that because the problem pretty much solved itself. A squirrel got squished by a car in the road in front of my house once too. That was an easy one as well. It was embedded into the concrete and didn’t seem to pose much of a health concern. A full size cat on the other hand was a bit gross, especially in my yard by my beloved hammock.

As I pondered what to do, I thought about burying it. I quickly ruled that out because I really don’t want a dead cat permanently residing in my yard. What if this was the cat’s 8th life and it reanimated itself? I don’t want a zombie cat any more than I want a living cat. If I saw a dug up hole in my yard where there once was a dead cat, I wouldn’t be sleeping for a while. As I said, I don’t like cats. I really don’t like zombie cats.

I thought about throwing it over fence into my neighbor’s yard. I realized that wouldn’t be cool, especially seeing as how I actually like my neighbors, but then said, “Hmmm…”

What if they threw it into my yard?

I shrugged my shoulders realizing that wasn’t an option. Definitely no win there. Then I thought about taking it to some nearby woods where I could leave it as a snack for something to feast on, or maybe at least it’d be fertilizer for the forest. Too much effort there and I wasn’t fond of carrying a dead cat down the street to the woods. My neighbors already think I’m weird enough as it is. Carrying a dead cat down the street surely wouldn’t help.

I thought about throwing the corpse into my fire pit, but that was quickly ruled out when I remembered cremation isn’t fully effective unless you have temperatures of at least 1400° F (760° C). Unfortunately, my fire pit doesn’t get that hot. It didn’t seem like that pleasant a thing to do anyway, so I opted for the easiest, quickest thing to do; I double bagged it in a plastic garbage sack and tossed it in the trash can.

Thinking a dead cat in doubled up plastic trash bags would be a sufficient fix turned out to be a major error in judgement. In fact, it was a very bad idea. 5 days remained from the time of insertion until the trash truck would arrive to properly dispose of it. As it turns out, a dead cat in double plastic bags, in a trash can, in the summer heat, for multiple days, surprisingly smelled far worse than you can imagine. Even with the lid closed, the smell of rotting death permeated the hot, humid neighborhood air with a vengeance. Not just at my house, but pretty much the entire block. Ooops.

Even after the trash truck arrived nearly a week later taking away little Fluffy, the can still smelled, and it lingered. So did the maggots. Even after two bottles of Febreeze and a bunch of Lysol, it still smelled. I can only imagine what the neighbors wondered. If nothing else, it was a good lesson in science.

Anyway, when I told this story to people I was bombarded with suggestions of what I should’ve done. I was told I could’ve taken it to a vet. Uhhh, no. No dead cats in my car…

One of the best ideas suggested was pranking someone I wasn’t fond of by hiding it somewhere (in a car or house). While it would’ve be funny, that’s just mean. I was told I should’ve brought it to Walmart and just carried it around petting it to see if anyone would say anything. That would be funny too, but again, gross.

I was told I should’ve put an ad on an internet marketplace offering to sell it. Somebody may have bought it. Maybe someone could’ve used it for a black magic ritual, or maybe they could’ve done taxidermy or something. Many someone collects dead cats. Who am I to judge someone’s hobby. I had many other suggestions. Most were outlandish except for one. I was asked, “Why didn’t you just call animal control?”

Ummm….

I don’t know why I didn’t think of that, but I’m pretty sure that’s like their entire job, or at least picking up dead animals is a big part of it. Oh well. I said, “Maybe next time”, but I surely hope there won’t be a next time.

~ Marty ~

NOTE: The cat shown in the photo is NOT the cat referenced in the article…


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