What image can one give to a story like the one that follows?
The day preceding the Bedikat Chometz, while Jews worldwide are extremely busy with final cleaning and preparation for Pesach, our preparations were rudely interrupted. My husband went to throw out the garbage - a seemingly normal task to do, and came back very upset. On his return he noticed a group of children clustered in a certain spot. Knowing full well that this type of group often means something is amiss, my husband went to find out what was capturing the attention of this group.
To his dismay, he discovered a tiny little kitten. The kitten must have been a week old as his eyes were still tightly closed. The problem with this scene is that some of the children in this group had removed this kitten and it's sibling from their mother.
Like all week-old babies, the kittens needed their mother and the mother cat needed her babies. What had transpired to lead to the children removing the kittens from their mother and what are the consequences?
After some investigation and trying to ascertain where the mother cat had been when her kittens were removed from her, we were distressed further to discover an angry woman. It turns out the mother cat had found a quiet corner in a newly built and still largely empty storeroom and settled down to give birth. Coming close to Pesach, the owners of the newly built Machsan (storeroom) discovered the mother cat and her kittens and decided they did not want them nearby. So the angry woman had her children remove the kittens from the mother cat. An act that resulted in a group of children shouting with glee at a helpless, week old kitten.
What are the consequences?
Kittens need their mother for warmth, to nurture them, which they do by regularly licking them (thus stimulating the development of digestion) and of course for milk.
Once humans have touched the week-old kittens, the mother cat will mostly not return. This results in a risk to the survival of the kittens. If anyone is to care for the kittens it requires constant care of a specific kind. One cannot just feed a baby whatever one wants to. With an immature digestive system they can only handle certain food and in a specific manner.
For the mother cat, she in turn will cry for her babies and have the discomfort of milk that is no longer required.
Being Erev Pesach, finding the appropriate assistance was not very easy. Everyone with the appropriate experience was busy cleaning and preparing for Pesach. Finally we did find a vet to assist, but this is not how things should have been.
If the woman did not want the cat and her kittens in her storeroom, she needed to have contacted someone who is expert with cats to find out how to encourage the mother cat and her kittens to relocate. Causing pain and suffering to animals is a transgression of a Torah law.
We are tired of having to rescue little animals from misguided children who believe that they can do whatever they want to, or with an animal. Torah teaches us otherwise. All children need to learn the beauty of nature and our creation and how to treat animals and our environment with kindness and respect.
We are in the process of writing a series of books to help to educate children (and adults) on this important topic. King David teaches us that all of creation sings praises to Hashem. In the same way, when any aspect of creation is treated with cruelty, their cries go up to Heaven.
Our first book, Tuvia Finds His Freedom, is available on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Createspace eStore. We'd like to get it to many more outlets so as to ensure that this important topic is accessible to as many as possible. Please help us to promote our books. The various ways in which you can help are listed on our latest Crowd Fundraiser.
What are your thoughts of kindness to animals? Post your comment below and please share this post with your friends. The incident that disrupted our Pesach cleaning is one that should never happen. Help us to teach others of the beauty of G-d's creation and the way that Hashem instructs us to behave within it - with kindness, respect, truth and beauty.
This post is prepared for you by
Shoshanah Shear of Chessed Ve'Emet