My brother and I went down with shovels–yes, shovels–to get rid of the ankle deep piles of cat shit in the basement. My mom locked the cats down there for days with big bowls of food and water, but no litter box. We weren’t allowed to let them out unless she said we could, so they languished under our feet.
The cats would die because of fleas and filth. Some got pregnant, filling the house with pitiful kittens who never had a chance. Our backyard slowly morphed into a cemetery.
I once knelt on the floor and held a three day old kitten in my small hands. I cried as I watched it have multiple seizures. I knelt there, praying for its tiny life. My knees were breaking, my legs were numb, but it didn’t matter. Every time a seizure stopped, I was sure my prayers were being answered. As it convulsed more and more, my faith became less and less. I watched helplessly as a tiny little life ended in the palm of my hands.