By Jim Cotton
As I left the house for my afternoon walk on the Four Mile Creek Greenway, it was still damp and chilly from the morning rain. I got on the greenway at South Trade and headed the 2.1 miles over to East John.
As I passed the Matthews maintenance building, I heard what sounded like a bird call. I headed down the slight incline to the bridge crossing the creek and saw a large gray cat sitting in the middle of the bridge making these sounds.
As I approached the cat, I could see it was also shaking, in distress. I attempted to pet it and it brought up its paws in defense. Clearly, something was wrong, but I was afraid to do anything and hoping it would head toward the nearby Clearbrook Drive neighborhood.
I continued my walk toward East John thinking all the way about the cat. I passed Squirrel Lake and continued. I walked another five minutes and then just had to go back to check on the cat. As I walked back, I decided I would pick it up somehow and take it to the fire station or put it on Clearbrook Drive.
Upon approaching the bridge, there were two women, one with a carriage, and I asked them about the cat. They did not know who it belonged to but could see it was in distress. I then walked over to the cat and picked it up with difficulty since it shrieked and squirmed. I took it away from the creek and put it down on the path to Clearbrook Drive.
I then called 911 and got a quick answer. I reported the events and was forwarded to the Matthews Police. They assured me they would be out to get the cat. The two women agreed they would stand by until someone came.
I headed home and about an hour later got a call from the police who said they had the cat. Also, they wanted to know if I had touched the cat since it appeared the cat had rabies. It was cold and I had on a heavy coat and ski gloves so I never actually touched the cat.
The next day, I got a call from an epidemiologist with Matthews Police to further verify I hadn’t touched the cat. And finally, the following day, I got another call from the police informing me that the cat did not have rabies.
This event has weighed on my mind as I think how many distressed people we all know but also it reminded me of the many helping hands that we have in this country.
At this time of year, you can hear or read about all organizations and individuals doing something to help others. I helped one gray cat, because that’s who we are, and I’m thankful to be able to help.