Not the trunk, please not the trunk

Published 10:23 pm Friday, August 17, 2007

Hope was lost and then was found, but almost too late. Monday afternoon a mother cat and her five kittens was delivered to SPCA in a plastic container placed in the trunk of a car. The heat index was hovering at 110 degrees.

“They looked dead. Some of the kittens were laying on their side they were so hot. The momma cat had drool coming out of her mouth she was so hot,” Debbie of the SPCA said yesterday.

“Debbie saw them drive up,” Maria Diamond, SPCA director said. “She saw them get this plastic container out of the trunk of the car.”

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“And I saw paws poking out of the holes in the container. I kicked the door open and hollered for Maria and went running out to the car to snatch that container away from the people.”

The two women ran to the car and hustled Hope and her five kittens into the sink of the tiny SPCA kitchen.

“We opened that container and the heat just blasted out. Most cats don’t like water,” Debbie said, “but, she just sat there and enjoyed the water running over her. One of the kittens climbed in a water bowl and just sat in the water cooling off. We lost one kitten. They were so hot they were enjoying it.”

“It went into convulsions and we had to put it down,” Diamond said. “After all they went through, we just couldn’t put the rest of them down. I was looking at their faces, they revived. How can we put them down after all they’ve been through? But, we just don’t have the space. The kittens are only about four weeks old and that is too young to be adoptable right now. If I could get them in a foster home I could save them. I can’t guarantee we could save them if we don’t get them a foster home because we are just so full.

“I don’t think they were intentionally trying to be cruel, but the cat pooped in the container. They couldn’t stand the smell so they stopped the car and put the container in the trunk. What were they thinking?” Diamond shook her head.

“Did they think smelling poop was worse than baking an animal alive?”

“That is what happened to that little one,” Debbie said. “He was baked.”

“Not only that,” Diamond interjected, “but people put their dogs in the back of their trucks and that metal is so hot on the pads of their feet, they just bake. I see these dogs over the sides of the truck barking. If they put on the brakes the dog is over the side and in the path of any car following. Monday night, a man came in with 10 kittens in a box that he found on the side of a country road intersection. So those kittens were baking in the sun without shade and no water. They would have to stay in that box until someone ran over that box or they died. They were too young to be away from their mother and we had to put them down.”

Hope is a black and white manx. It is very playful as a rule and is known among cat affectionados as the sports car of the cat world because of its quickness and on-a-diime turns. They exhibit dog-like qualities such as burying their toys and their retrieving skills. The manx has a sweet expression and stubtail.

SPCA needs more foster homes, Diamond said. All the food and medicine is paid for. The shelter cats and dogs that go to foster homes can’t mingle with the pets that live there because there may be a disease, although the staff does testing and tries to ensure no sick dog or cat goes into a foster home. If you would like to be a foster parent for kittens, puppies or other animal, call Diamond at 601-799-1541 leave a message.

Diamond was adamant, animals need to stay home in the summer time. They should never be left in a car, the back of a truck and never, ever put in the trunk. It is just too hot for them.

“It’s hot for us and they have a fur coat on,” she said. “It is unbelievable how fast the inside of a car heats up.”

The temperatures inside a car can elevate to more than 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with the windows down or cracked open.

“Just sit in the car for 10 minutes with it turned off and the windows rolled up; see how fast it heats up,” she added.

All pet owners must be alert for heat stress in their pets. It is indicated by heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, unsteadiness, staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue. Your pet can suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke, or even suffocation when trapped in high temperatures.

Make sure your pet has plenty of shade, if it stays outside, and plenty of fresh water. Put ice in the water to help keep it cool. The spinklers/misters are excellent, even a kiddie pool will help.

If heat stress symptoms appear, put your pet in cool water or run cool water over it. Take it to a veterinarian immediately, that may save its life.

A dog should travel in a harness and a cat should travel in a carrier, if you must bring your pet on a trip.

Dogs may look like they are having fun in the back of the truck, but dirt and debris can lodge in noses or ears. A dog can easily be thrown into the road if you hit a bump or have to swerve. Ropes or leashes become nooses. A fallen dog is a hazard to other motorists.