You have, no doubt, heard the story of the Austin, TX veterinarian who killed an innocent cat and bragged about it on social media (The story has been carried by all major news networks). What you may not have heard is that the cat was a beloved pet who had gone missing earlier that day.
Although the rogue veterinarian, Kristen Lindsey, claimed that her prey was a “feral tomcat”, the cat was actually Tiger, a 6 year old orange and white Tabby cat who was a family pet.
The story is appalling, regardless of whether the cat was feral or was a pet. A veterinarian killing any companion animal and laughing about it as if its life had no value is no different than a human doctor slaying a homeless person as if he or she had no value.
The story started flooding my social media pages, as I am friends with many animal advocates. I confess that I tried to look away and ignore it at first, as I could not allow myself to feel the pain of it. Any story of animal abuse breaks my heart, and there are far too many of them being shared. Sometimes, I have to look away to save my own sanity.
There was something about this story, though, that forced me to pay attention. The story was one that could not be ignored. It had elements that hit me personally, and the fact that it was a veterinarian was so egregious.
First, the cat looks very much like my own orange and white Tabby, Brewskie Butt. Second, I felt strong empathy for Tiger’s family, as my Brewskie once escaped from my home and was lost for 3 days. Luckily, he was found and did not have such a disastrous fate, but I could imagine the feeling of loss his family must have endured.
Third, I am a TNR rescuer, and I have worked compassionately to help street cats achieve better lives and respect from the humans with whom they share this world. Any cat’s life has value, and a veterinarian who scoffs so virulently at that notion has no place taking care of animals.
As an artist, I wanted to paint something to respond to my feelings about poor Tiger’s demise. Refusing to highlight the negative, I instead created this painting to honor Tiger and to bring forth some beauty to replace the ugliness that his passing has brought forth.
There are those in our world who are intent on destroying and causing pain. It is my belief that, as a creator, I have a duty to bring forth beauty when others bring forth ugliness. Doing so brings balance to the world so that the cycle does not rest on destruction.
I posted images of this painting on my Facebook and Instagram. I was thrilled when others related to my desire to create beauty to replace the ugliness. One person was so moved by it, she has purchased the painting and is giving it to Tiger’s family.
For each ugly person in the world, there are so many more beautiful ones. We mustn’t forget that.
What kind of beauty can you bring forth to give our world balance? How can you be creative in order to block out the ugliness that too easily captures our attention and causes us pain?
If you have shared the hashtag #IamTiger, how are you recalling his life and bringing forth the joyful energy that he brought to his world? Yes, we must share our outrage, but beyond that, how can you celebrate his life?
Let us seek justice for Tiger, not only in holding the veterinarian accountable for her actions, but also in celebrating the beauty of his life.
Prints of the painting are available for $25 (printed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper). Contact me if you would like to purchase one.
Life is an Adventure!