The Catkiller’s Apprentice

I really dislike cats. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I hate them, but I dislike them. I consider them to be nasty little beasts, although I suppose I can understand how people who want to be able to ignore their pets for days at a time might find them to make reasonable companions. That being said, I don’t take any particular joy in seeing them dead.

So, it was a bit disturbing to see an idiot cat run out right in front of the truck that was preceding me. The next thing I saw was the cat lying directly in my path, which presented me with a limited range of options:

1. Slam on my brakes and hope the [presumed] female driver in the Smart car behind me was paying close enough attention to stop as well.

2. Veer right and hit the van that was next to me.

3. Veer left onto the sidewalk.

4. Swerve slightly right so that the tire didn’t hit the cat without hitting the van.

5. Run right over it.

I had only a split second to decide, so acting on the assumption that the cat was either dead or dying after getting hit by the truck, I went with option five. I decided that finishing the poor thing off fast would be the most merciful thing to do. Since my initial pre-cognitive reaction had been to begin swerving right in preparation for option four – which I think was doable as the van wasn’t so close that there was any significant risk – I turned the wheel back to the left and winced a little as I added insult to injury.

Did I do the right thing? I really don’t know. The driver of the van didn’t seem to think so, as our windows were both open and he said something about it having been far enough ahead to avoid. It’s not like I’m wracked with guilt over it or anything, but I do wonder if it was the right decision. What do you think? What would you have done?