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Thread: Conscience-Pricking: What would you have done?

  1. #1

    Default Conscience-Pricking: What would you have done?

    This morning, I was waiting at the covered walkway overseeing the carpark, for my dad to fetch me to work, an everyday ritual. It was raining very heavily. Beside me, pelted by the rain, was a Hyundai parked very close to the kerb.

    I heard this consistent meowing and saw a cat under the Hyundai. She was looking at the kerb and meowing non-stop. I didn't think much of it until I thought that she might be looking at something in the drainage hole of the kerb. Gradually her meowing became more intense and there was a tone of panic in it. She dived into the drainage hole twice, just to emerge again with nothing except for thoroughly wet fur.

    At that moment thoughts starting formulating. Was she trying to retrieve something from the hole? Did she want to join something that was in the hole? Was there a rat that she wanted to prey on out of hunger? All the while when I was thinking, I just stood there, looking at her, not moving an inch.

    And suddenly her panic intensified. She started looking around for help and she saw me. She gave me a look as if asking for help, and meowed loudly. Just then, I confirmed that she must have something precious that fell into that hole. Most probably her kitten.

    But I still stood there, motionless. If I were to help her, I will get totally drenched in the heavy rain, and I was going to work in my uniform (SAF). The Hyundai was parked so close to the kerb that there was no space for me to reach my arm into the hole, not even to see what was in the hole. My dad was coming and he would be impatient to wait. I was not even sure what was in the hole, what if there was a snake?

    These thoughts kept me standing there, just looking at the poor cat. After a while, she dived into the hole for a third time. Just then my dad called and asked me to go to the main road as the rain made it inconvenient for him to turn into the carpark. As I was about to walk away, the mother emerged from the hole, with a newborn kitten in her mouth. The kitten did not even have a full body of fur yet, and it was all wet, although visibly still alive. The mother put the kitten down on the road, and gave me a look I could not forget, a look which pierced right through my conscience. She then picked up her child and ran away.

    Could I have done something?

    My friend told me there was nothing I could do. It does sound like so, the way he reasoned. Somehow, my conscience still hurts.

    What would you have done?

  2. #2


    So sad for the cat.

    Well, humans in general put their welfare above all other lifeforms. If I were in your position, I probably wouldn't want to be drenched by the rain either. But I always carry a small umbrella in my bag and I think in this situation I would probably try to see what's going on and maybe help the cat out. But then the mother cat might not know that I want to help out and give me a face of scratches!

    Don't worry, your conscience will be clear again after some time. That's life. You can help others sometimes but not all the time.

  3. #3


    Maybe Someone is trying to tell u something? Since this event is already over, try and make this a good lesson learnt. Next time be proactive and offer help to those in need.

    And if some ppl comes to you for advice, perhaps this story can give them a certain perspective..

    dunno about you, but I observe my life's happenings.. and by a fate of coincidence i almost always can relate them to individuals who need a listening ear.

  4. #4


    to any animal hurts.
    imagining myself in your hurts too.

    but dont u think it's time to get over it?

  5. #5


    That was really a good story.

    I'm not sure about anyone else, but if it was me, I would have at least tried to help the cat get her kid out of the drain.

    Although I may not be able to help her, but at least I know that I had tried, and that puts my conscience at ease.

    Not trying to doubt anyone's conscience here, but think about it:

    In this case, a little discomfort on our side (getting wet, maybe catching a cold) could have saved another being's (be it be a cat or human) life. Isn't that "discomfort" worthwhile after all?

    But I'm not implying that you should risk your life to help others. Try to help out within your own limits.

    Thanks for relating your incident online, I would personally forward this link to my friends...

  6. #6


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, guys, appreciate it.

    I really wished I had tried to do something. I work in the uniform service, and getting myself wet will mean either turning up for work drenched, or going home and change and be late. Coupled with the fact that I could not reach the hole, and I couldn't see if there was anything dangerous in there (possibly a snake).

    I'm not trying to redeem myself, just wishing to express my dilemma at that point in time. Some people think that it is worthwhile to try and help others, even though you put yourself at risk. Some people think that one should be sure of your own well-being before you think of helping others. Honestly I haven't found where I stand. I remember one example, when I was in OCS five years ago, one of my platoon mate (A) kindly volunteered to clean the SAW (the rifle) for another mate (B). As most guys will know, the SAW is very prone to rust. B was a slow worker and in OCS, we were forever pressed for time. So A cleaned up the SAW, derusted the damn thing, and he did a good job. However, our PC said he didn't clean his own M16 thoroughly enough, and he got extras for that. B was apologetic, but all he could do was to say sorry. A still kena the extras. This isn't exactly analogous to the cat case since in the latter, a life was involved. But it is close enough to describe the kind of dilemma I was feeling.

    I will get over it, thanks guys. I intended this as a discussion, for I am curious to know what most people would do if they saw the same thing, and I think there is no right or wrong answer to that.

    Anyone with more thoughts to share, please do. I wish to hear more. Thanks!

    p.s. by the way, one of my friends said the mother may eat up the kitten if I had helped, cos I would have imparted an unfamiliar smell to the kitten. Is that true? I know mother cats do eat up their kids for that reason, but she did look like she asked me for help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    ClubSNAP community


    Originally posted by Tweek
    by the way, one of my friends said the mother may eat up the kitten if I had helped, cos I would have imparted an unfamiliar smell to the kitten. Is that true? I know mother cats do eat up their kids for that reason, but she did look like she asked me for help
    That is not true. Females cats will not kill their young if they intend to save it as is in your case. Tomcats (the males) are the one that may eat the kittens. Following pix some food for thought...

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Behind the viewfinder...


    Thanks for sharing Wee Kai.

    Indeed sometimes we are thrusted in to such situation where we stand on the comfy side and on the other side, the less comfy zone (ie: cats, dogs in distress, disabled...) and having to cross over to that zone will be risking it all. Depends on situation.

    You would have saved the kitten @ all cost if you are not in your uniform, not raining and without the car obstructing wouldn't you? That's good enuf.

    Dun be too hard on yourself. As long as you have the heart to do it, there will be other opportunities.

    I commend your public-spiritness in coming to share this incident and also for your love for animals.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002


    relak lah... do u give up seats for the elderly or pregnant or those carrying kids?
    not saving the kitten is one thing, but if u accidentally mishandled and killed it, u'd end up with another endless hodge podge of what ifs... ji3 ren2 you1 tian1, dun brood so much about it...
    "I'm... dreaming... of a wide... angle~
    Just like the ones I used to know~"

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Hong Kong


    Very nice of you to share your experience! Although each person has to make their own decisions, as for me I will try to follow my this case I would not think of the consequences, but just do it! I really like Nike's credo: 'Just Do It!'.......seems like you can communicate with animals! :-)

    Hong Sien

  11. #11


    once again, thanks for sharing, guys.

    denizenx, thanks for your post. Like I mentioned before, I do not intend to lead this discussion into whether I'm whining, or I'm brooding, or I'm too sensitive, or I'm just a fool. I just hope to know what others will do. Oh ya, yes, I always give up my seat to others who need it more than me, unless I fail to notice them.

  12. #12
    Member shocky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Rental @ 82237153


    its ok dude
    most prob i will be like u too

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Near Equator


    Well, then again if you think about it the mother cat may have been worried about you abducting her baby, that may be why she was looking at you...

    I did something worse... I once saw a cat stuck behind some panels of tiles (the type they display at renovation shops) but I thought it meant to be there and it was only after I left that I thought it could have been trapped there.


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