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I Didn’t Know Any Better, by Amanda Barnes

Dear Misty,

Every now and again I think about you, and I can’t help but feel sad. You didn’t deserve what happened to you, but I didn’t know what else I was supposed to do. I knew I was broke and I knew that I couldn’t afford to have a pet, so when I found you as a little kitten, I should have taken you to the pound or found a home for you where someone else could take care of you. But I didn’t have anything that made me happy, and you made me smile.

You were so small and cute. You were so much fun, tearing up the house and lapping up milk. I know that the canned meats weren’t the healthiest things I could feed you, but I could afford them with Food Stamps.

When you got sick, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t afford to take you to the vet. I tried to take care of you myself, but you were just so sick. I didn’t know what to do, so I took you outside, put you in a little box, and left you there. I couldn’t handle your dying on me. I left you alone, scared, sick. I’d had you for several months, and I loved you, but I left you alone. I didn’t even put you somewhere close by, because I didn’t want to look and see where I’d left you.

Sometimes, when I get really sad about what I did, I pretend that you’re still alive. I pretend that someone found you, took care of you, took you in, made you well, took you to the vet, fed you good food, did all the things I should have done for you.

But the truth is, that probably didn’t happen. You probably died, alone, scared, terrified. And it’s my fault. I am so sorry I did that to you.

I’ve not allowed myself to have another pet because of you, Misty. It’s not fair for me to have that pleasure when I didn’t do right by you. But now, my children want a cat, and they found this little grey tabby, who looks just a bit like you—but maybe that’s just my guilt thinking that—and I feel so guilty every time I look at her.

So I’m writing this to you to say I’m sorry. If you really are at the Rainbow Bridge, then maybe one day I can tell you how sorry I am when I see you again. I wish I had saved you. I wish I’d done the right thing. But this time, I will. This time, I can afford a pet, and I will take good care of the new kitten. I hope you don’t mind, won’t think I’m undeserving after what I did to you.

I’m so sorry, little Misty Kitty. I hope wherever you are, you’re happy and maybe you can forgive me for not being brave enough or strong enough to do what was right for you.

Love,
Amanda

 

~~Amanda Barnes is a pet lover who made a mistake when she was young, but writing this letter is something she hopes will bring some light to others who might find themselves in a similar position. There are organizations that will help people who cannot afford to take care of their pets during an illness, and local animal shelters also will usually assist in certain circumstances. The Human Society has more information about how to get assistance with veterinary help for your pets if you can’t afford it. Visit them here: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/trouble_affording_veterinary_care.html – Amanda only wishes she had known about this so many years ago.

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10 Responses to “I Didn’t Know Any Better, by Amanda Barnes”

  1. Derek Odom says:

    Aww, this one hurt a little.

  2. J Eric Murphy says:

    When I was in my 20’s I had a couple of dogs and they had become the light of my life. Everything had fallen apart for me and they were there with me when I had to go back home. A few years later when my grandpa was killed in an accident I was forced to give them up. My male died a month after he was sent to his new home and it broke my heart. So I understand your loss. Today I have two cats that I have rescued they have been good friends of mine. I hope that you can forgive yourself and find another furry friend.

  3. Debbie D says:

    Animals are always quicker to forgive than most people. I’m sure the little kitty would be happy to see her life meant enough for you to remeber her but would want you to release the guilt and pain and love and care for your new kitty.

  4. Kim Hagen says:

    Really sweet, poignant, and well-written. Often people adopt bunnies, kittens, and puppies, not thinking of the total cost of an animal. Like my husband says, there’s no such thing as a free kitty. Just our routine vet bills average about $100 annually and there’s always food and other expenses. You learned a lesson and I believe your story might make another person think twice before picking up a stray. Sometimes there are alternatives, where vets will accept payments or an Animal Aid Society or Shelter might help offset the costs. It’s really sad how many animals die, but I think you are mature enough to adopt a little kitten into your family. I hope you will have another letter to write with a happy story of being a pet owner who’s ready for the responsibility. I think you are, anyhow!

  5. Ray Mickol says:

    Wow!! That tore me up.

  6. Deborah D says:

    I had a hard time with this but I can honestly say I’m glad that, despite it being the wrong choice, you are honest enough to admit to what you did and feel remorse. There are so many out there who would do something like that for fun – not out of desperation. Sending lots of positive, healing energy your way. I hope you do see your furry friend on the rainbow bridge someday.

  7. Miriam Pia says:

    When I was a child I was taught “Pets require responsibility”. I guess you “should have” taken your furry friend to the pound rather than just abandoning the animal. I have had pets and am aware that there is legitimate fear surrounding being able to afford to take good care of one. It sounds like you were a good friend to it until the abandonment. I don’t know why you reacted that way. I guess you’re not a Catholic; if you were a good Catholic you would have confessed this years ago and been forgiven. Remember, forgiveness doesn’t mean ‘its ok that you did’, forgiveness means – Neither I nor you nor God needs to ruin the rest of your life as a chronic punishment for your sin. Maybe donate to charity or something as well as being a good pet owner now, as penance.

  8. Gwen says:

    Ya know, I didnt even read past the first paragraph . Certain things stick in my mind and I cannot get them out .

    Something told me NOT to read any farther . I saw foodstamps and immediately thought , she dumped the cat off at the SPCA because she was on foodstamps . Well I’ll tell you wench , just because you are on foodstamps does NOT mean you cannot AFFORD cat food . How much is a can of cat food a day ? 50 cents ? A jug of litter is 8 lousy bucks a week . And a box of dry food is 2.00 . Put down the cigarettes and eat less doritos and you would have been able to afford that cat . I have 7 and I have ALWAYS been able to feed them because I am of NORMAL intelligence . I hope you rot in hell because something tells me you did WAY worse than just leaving that cat at the pound . You have internet now so I guess you managed to pull yourself out of that slump.

    And as for anyone that decides to write a book to me , do not worry , I will NEVER be back to this site. Are you kidding me ? They pay you 25 bucks a submission , then compile the letters , sell the book and then make HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS ? How dumb are you people ? Wait , I already established that .

    • Rissa Watkins says:

      Wow, Gwen you are a freakin’ moron. You didn’t read past the first paragraph- then shut the hell up. You don’t get to comment when you don’t even know what happened.

      Maybe the writer did give it away. Maybe the writer abandoned it. Maybe the writer cut off her left arm and fed it to the cat and it got sick. You have no flipping clue because you didn’t read it.

      So didn’t earn the right to comment.

      And you want to talk about dumb people- try doing some research before spouting idiotic numbers. Hundreds of thousands of dollars? A big publishing house and a celeb book or a rare J.K Rowley success maybe but definitely not the norm.

  9. Jasen says:

    You’re a sick fuck.

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