Warning: This story is not for the faint of heart – although it does, unbelievably, have a happy ending.
Last fall, a stray black kitty named Andrea, lost her lease on life. She had been at a shelter in Utah for over 30 days without being adopted and consequently she was sent to the shelter gas chambers to be euthanized. When the staff went in to retrieve her, however, she showed signs of life, so they gassed her a second time. Thinking the second attempt “succeeded,” the shelter employee picked up her lifeless body, wrapped it in a plastic bag and deposited her in a cooler.
However, Andrea had only used up two of her nine lives and she was insistent that she still had seven to go. When the staff emptied the cooler at the end of the day Andrea the cat was amazingly still alive – and moving! She survived two gassing attempts, potential suffocation in a plastic bag and hypothermia!
At this point, the shelter employees wondered about divine intervention and decided this tough-as-nails cat deserved a second chance to find a forever home and she was given to CAWS (Community Animal Welfare Society), a local animal welfare group.
“She’s pretty tough, obviously,” said Janita Coombs, a volunteer with CAWS who agreed to take care of Andrea. “She’s definitely got some will to live.”
CAWS, which agreed to find a permanent home for Andrea, is seeking information on why the gas chamber failed – and local Utah residents are seeking an end to the use of gas chambers at their city shelters.
Animal welfare activists around the world, in hearing Andrea’s stomach-wrenching story, have called for the end of all Auschwitz-like gassing of animals. Activists who of course prefer that euthanizing be avoided at all costs argue that if it must be done, please use injection as it is painless, faster and less expensive than carbon monoxide. As Jennifer Brown with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urged, “No animals would have to pay with their lives if everyone would spay, neuter and adopt animals from shelters. Until then, the least we owe those who must be euthanized is a painless, peaceful passing.”
Fortunately for Andrea, the unusually lucky black cat, she has a new lease on life and can leave the entire discussion behind her as she settles into her new home to enjoy her remaining seven lives.