Cat hit, left to die in Tucson intersection: Does anyone care?

We are such busy, self-important people that we can’t be bothered with some seemingly trivial things – like a cat hit and left to die in a midtown intersection.

Mercedes was hit and left to die at Grant and Swan roads/submitted photo

Such was the fate of a calico feline the afternoon of Aug. 26, says The Hermitage Cat Shelter. At least one car slammed into the cat, while several other vehicles just streamed on by.

Why bother to help a cat? After all, the thing was already shaking and sideways in the middle of the street. It would probably croak soon anyway. May as well make it to our appointments on time.

We have things to do, people to see, toilet paper, toothpaste and Twizzlers to buy.

One woman finally did stop, scooped up the cat and took the feline to the nearest cat shelter she could think of.

Hence the cat, now named Mercedes in honor of the Good Samaritan’s car, is recovering at Tucson’s Hermitage Cat Shelter, 5278 E. 21st St.

A veterinarian examined Mercedes, prescribed painkillers along with various other medications, and told the Hermitage folks Mercedes should be fine.

Getting hit by a car knocked out quite a few of the cat’s teeth and left her with a nasty road rash. She also probably used up one of those nine lives.

Mercedes is currently in The Hermitage’s Isolation Unit and will be up for adoption upon her recovery.

We applaud the woman who stopped – and wonder how many fellow motorists she may have irked by briefly putting on her hazard lights to halt the flow of traffic and save a cat.

We can rationalize leaving a cat to die all the way to Thursday. Tucson has too many stray cats to begin with. They pee on our porch. They make our dog nuts when we’re out walking, pulling on the leash.

Some folks hate cats to begin with, calling them sneaky and evil.

But say it was not a cat that lay dying, but a dog? Not a dog, but a human?

Based on the six murders posted last week on Rynski’s Day of the Dead, coupled with the seven currently sitting in my e-mail inbox, we kind of get this eerie feeling that, for some, life does not mean all that much.

If a human lay dying in the intersection, we thus have to wonder if that same type of rationalization would still kick in. After all, we don’t want to be held up for our important missions, like buying those Twizzlers and toilet paper.

NOTE: This piece was written using sarcasm. Cats are people, too.


What do you think?

Would you let a cat die in the intersection?

Would you stop to save any animal? Would you stop to save a person?

Have you hit anything and left it to die?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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23 Responses to Cat hit, left to die in Tucson intersection: Does anyone care?

  1. Tanya says:

    I would trully like to think that I would stop. I am not perfect I am not claiming to be… But I am not sure… But I know I would try to persuade the person driving the car to stop so we can at least bury the animal if it has died, no reason to leave it to be hit again.  I am a cat person and I hate that people think of them as pest… Just because they wont cozy up to you and beg for attention like a dog would doesn’t make them any less of a companion.

    • Rynski says:

      hi tanya,
      thanks for honest answer. i, too, would want to stop – and hope i was the one driving so i could.
      i love all animals (except cockroaches if they count as animals) and would feel horrible if i could help but instead let them suffer.
      p.s. cats are usually not like dogs, but even if they are not, they have their own set of charms, for sure!

  2. Cat says:

    I would stop for a cat that was clearly needing help in a situation like that. As a cat lover myself I could no less. What’s happened to our society when we have people who hit an animal and keep driving? What kind of message does that send to our younger generation when we don’t stop to help a cat in need and that is clearly injured and in further danger?
    A lot of cats can be saved from getting hit by a car if we just keep them indoors. My cats are both kept indoors and they’re living a much safer and happier life than being outside where their lifepsan would be cut in half, especially when it comes to dangerous situations like being hit by a car.

    • Rynski says:

      hi cat lover cat,
      thanks for comment – and posing a VERY good question: “What’s happened to our society when we have people who hit an animal and keep driving?”
      i say it’s gone to hell in a handbasket.
      we could give the person who initially hit the cat the benefit of the doubt – perhaps the driver was unaware? too bad the newly installed red light cameras at that intersection only snap a photo of red-light runners and not hit-and-runs with animals (or people) too.

  3. azmouse says:

    Hearing this story breaks my heart. Not only would I stop for a cat that’s been hit, I would’ve stopped BEFORE the cat got hit and try to catch it and help it.
    I used to work at Grant and Swan and I lived close by there for many years. A human has a hard time dealing with that intersection, let alone an animal.

    I also agree with Cat’s comment above. Cats need to stay indoors. My cats go outside with me in our backyard on a leash so they can roll in the grass and get some fresh air and sunshine.

    Accidents happen but the person who hit the cat should have stopped to help. Anything less is cruel and heartless. Who cares if  you hold up traffic? Let people get mad…they’ll live, but the cat may not have.

    I love cats so much!

    • Rynski says:

      hey cat lover azmouse –
      you have a HUGE heart (as those who read your comments know!), esp. with stopping even to help the cat before disaster strikes.
      that’s also cool you found a way for your cats to safely enjoy the great outdoors. they are in good hands – as all your pets are.

  4. inkythistle says:

    1) Some cats DO cozy up and beg for attention in the same way dogs are known to. 
    2) I agree that cats need to stay indoors except for supervised outdoor excursions as described by azmouse. 
    3) I checked “other” in the poll: I would certainly stop and pick up an injured cat or small dog and even a large dog provided it is not too agressive and I can safely move him/her myself.  If the dog meets any of those prohibitive criteria, I will call my friend who is experienced with dog rescue and in the meantime would turn the hazards on and try to flag down another driver for help.

    • Rynski says:

      hi inkythistle,
      VERY GOOD point with your 3). i was helping to catch a stray dog once and yes, it did start snapping at me out of fear. very good idea to get help from others when situation warrants it – esp. if we are inclined to save coyotes and javelinas.
      thanks for input – and glad you know some cozy up cats!

  5. Feline Freddy says:

    This town is full of apathetic people.  It wouldn’t surprise if they drove past a person in the middle of the intersection.  No one wants to help around here.
    I can’t wait to move, I have never like this town or the people in it.  It’s full of crime and hate.  GET ME OUT.

    • Rynski says:

      dear feline freddy –
      i have the distinct feeling your none too fond of tucson? hahahha.
      on a POSITIVE note, someone DID eventually stop to help the cat. that is a good thing.
      i see lots of apathy – but i also see people who genuinely do care here in tucson.
      my guess is the general malaise, apathy, redhot hate, disrespect and disregard for life is more of a worldwide, or at least nationwide, phenomenon going on.
      i’ve lived in places with much more crime and much more apathy…but i am seeing more and more hate ’round these parts….

  6. Alan in Kent WA says:

    Have stopped for animals before in the road.  My wife even moves uninjured banana slugs out of the roadway when we do our morning cardio vascular walk. 

    Things were wierd in NM.  On one hand, I overheard some guy at the Poquaque Supermarket telling someone that they took a coyote to the Vet that he accidentally hit, and he was glad the Vet bill was only $200.00.  On the other hand, there was a girl who was hit at least four times on I 25 outside of Santa Fe.  The final person was a State Police, who hit the girl as her body was knocked into his car by another vehicle!

    • Rynski says:

      alan in kent wa,
      give your wife a BIG HUG!!! for saving the banana slugs!!
      how cool is that – hahahhahahah.
      and that IS some strange new mexico auto stuff. actually, i don’t think helping a coyote is weird, but rather kind. but i wonder what was up with the girl outside santa fe? geesh. that’s just creepy – and sad.

  7. John says:

    I’ve been in this city all my life and all I can say is the value on life here is very low.
    Just last month my neighbor and I both got new puppies. We didn’t go and adopt them nor did we pay some high priced breeder. My fiance happened to see a box on the side of the frontage road at prince. She stopped to take a look because I have told her that people sometimes abandon animals that way and guess what she found? Two 7 week old puppies. They had been left on the side of the road, with a bag of puppy food that their little milk teeth could not open, and a monsoon just about to start. They were only a couple miles away from PACC yet someone chose to leave them next to a VERY busy roadway in a box that they could have easily escaped from. Makes you wonder what the person will do if they have kids that get to be too much for them.

    • Rynski says:

      awww, man!
      that is sooo sad, john – but thank goodness your fiance decided to look in the box – and then rescue the two lil critters.
      i don’t understand why someone could not have dropped them at pacc, either. pacc does not even charge a fee (last i heard?) whereas some shelters need to when people drop off animals (which i have heard as a possible excuse for some, esp. those who leave animals on foreclosed home and then move away…).
      makes me want to puke.
      congrats! to your household and your neighbor’s on new additions!

      • John says:

        Thank you, the little mutt has been a great addition 🙂
        BTW PACC does not charge to drop off an animal. It takes all of 5 minutes to take an animal in to there. They are overcrowded but try to do the best they can for every animal.

  8. Jim says:

    This is the best news story you can come up with? A cat gets his by a car and nobody cares? Why would we care? Animals die everyday, do you care about that? How stupid.

    • andrew farley says:

      Jim, is this the most sympathetic comment you could come up with? Put the paw on the other foot and it could be you in the intersection that I have to save. “rebron she” itc

      • Rynski says:

        hahhahah! thanks for input, rebron she.
        based on some of jim’s other comments on other posts – that are pushing the limits of the comment guidelines, we may not be seeing much more of his input in the near future.

      • Roxy Rogers says:

        @Rynski, Thank you for writing about this. As a cat lover who has adopted two cats from the Hermitage Shelter, and as former director of a humane society in the Northeast (a previous life before my move here to Tucson a decade ago), I’m thankful to see the spotlight on this issue. I do think we’re apathetic as a race. Some of it may be related to education or socio-economics, but I think more of it is related to an increasing return to a survival mentality. We have made choices (and they are choices) as a society that allows stress and fear to run our lives rather than our values and ideals dictating our actions. I’m not sure what the answer is to the larger problem, but as with all change, it begins by spotlighting the need for the change to occur.
        I should also say that my own values are challenged by comments like the one Jim posted, which make me want to ask him what intersection will he be standing in later today, since I’ll be driving and I want to be sure to make a connection with him. Yet, I can’t help being sure that the hate he’s wallowing in which such bold enthusiasm and excellent precision will be hitting him with karma harder than any vehicle ever could. Haters and ignorants attract the same, so let their life be their judge, jury and executioner.

  9. Gimmix says:

    Several years ago, I stopped and picked up a hurt and sick hound dog.  Although I couldnt keep dogs at my apt, and had limited funds, I tried to find it a home and nurse it back to health.  After a month of futility, I turned him in to the human society, where they told me he would probably put down.   They chastised me for abandoning my pet and didnt believe my story.  I walked away with a bitter taste and a lesson learned.

    • Rynski says:

      that is awful, gimmix. sorry to hear you had that experience – but kudos to you for trying to save a hurt and sick hound. please don’t let it deter you from helping animals in the future.

  10. me says:

    There are so many potential reasons NOT to stop.. it’s simply not worth the risk to yourself or others:
    * Could cause a traffic accident, damaging your vehicle or injuring or killing you or others
    * You become responsible for vet bills… for someone else’s pet that was too irresponsible to keep it from running around?
    * If some cop shows up you might be fined (or worse!) if they think you were responsible for hitting it.  This goes up to like 1000x if it was a human.  You just don’t want to be anywhere near that.  The witch hunts that police have done to me have proven to me that the best policy is never to get involved with police unless you absolutely have to, even if you have nothing to hide.
    * Could be bitten or injured by the animal.  You don’t know if it is diseased.
    * Might be bleeding causing damage your vehicle.
    What are the potential gains?
    * Animal MIGHT recover, possibly living a pain-filled existence after that
    These are the REAL reasons going through the minds of those who don’t stop.  It has nothing to do with hate for cats, animals, or humans.  It does not make people cruel who don’t stop.  They are weighing the potential risks to themselves, the people that rely on them, and others and have decided that it is not worth it to stop.

  11. erniemccray says:

    The mark of a loving society is how well it treats its animals, how well it protects them. And having mercy for a cat shouldn’t be based on how it stacks up to dogs. They’re both wonderful creatures and two (Maxi and Dos) of my four cats are every bit as affectionate as dogs; they can’t pass us by without stopping and insisting on being rubbed and held as they purr loudly, enjoying every second of the attention; Dos stands up on his hind legs to be petted on the head and he doesn’t care if the touch is vigorous or soft. Ja Ja, our wild one, can rough house with the best of dogs.
    I don’t know how many animals (hobbling squirrels, birds with broken wings, homeless dogs…) my wife and I have taken to Project Wildlife or the humane society – or how many feral cats we have fed in our neighborhood. Nothing suffering should be ignored, including, I might add, “illegals.” It harms us as a society when we keep our compassion in check, when we don’t let our love flow freely.

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