Good Bye, Muta.

By, Phoenix Robertson

On Sunday, March 19, 2023, I had a fantastic day. I walked outside of my front door to discover an adorable kitten laying on my steps. As someone who has rarely been around cats, I was unfamiliar with just how kind and sweet cats can be. For an hour I sat outside in the soft sunlight with the young kitten and gave it water, food, and a bit of yarn to play with. While I watched the kitten roll around and sleep in the grass, I thought about how intriguing the world is. Everything moves so fast and still people change so slowly. This cat doesn’t care if it will rain tomorrow or how well she will do on a standardized test. The only thing this cat cares about is staying alive and having a good time. What a wonderful way to live. I left my front step and said “Good bye, Muta,” naming the cat after the famous Renaldo “Muta” Moon from the Studio Ghibli film The Cat Returns, and walked inside, content with the experience I had just had.  

On Monday, March 20, 2023 I did not have a fantastic day. I left my house like I had done a thousand times before and got into the car with my family. As we drove past the curve, I saw Muta laying on the grass with people I didn’t recognize standing next to her. I soon learned that Muta had been the victim of a hit-and-run car accident, and things weren’t looking good. My family and I attempted to help care for Muta until she could be taken to the proper emergency care facility. I was absolutely heartbroken that someone could leave such a sweet and innocent animal to die on the side of the road. Who does that? How could you do that? Muta, or as she was called by my neighbors “Cali”, was taken to a veterinary hospital later that evening. 

On Tuesday, March 21, 2023, my roller coaster of a week continued to barrel down the tracks. I learned that Muta had suffered a variety of injuries including being blinded, a cracked skull, broken jaw, as suffered from internal bleeding. This medley of injuries ultimately resulted in the cat’s passing. As I contemplated my feelings, I again returned to the questions I had thought of the day before and the wonderful experiences I just had with Muta. She had just been so full of life and kindness, and now she was gone. I would never see Muta again. Her owners would never see her again. Through my frustration, I began to wonder: would this be any different if the person who had hit Muta had stopped to help?

Muta’s case is not the first of its kind. Over 350 million animals die each year on the road in the United States. 350 million. (That’s more than the population of the United States circa 2021.) Don’t add to that number. In order to protect the lives of countless animals that could potentially be lost due to human carelessness, read the following tips that experts have for you about saving the lives of animals. 

  1. If you see a hurt or stray animal, the best thing that you can do is call a local animal hospital or the police who can connect you to the proper individuals. Veterinarians and other animal experts will be able to conduct you as to what your next steps should be. Unless you happen to be a veterinary technician or doctor–if you are, I tip my hat to you–you need to seek the assistance of an expert. No good will be done by you making guesses and hurting the animal. 
  2. Stay safe. You’re no good to the animal if you get hurt in the process, and you should also not risk harming others. If you see an animal on the side of the road, either pull over in a safe location and fashion, or if you can’t pull over, call the proper authorities, only when it is safe for you to do so. Don’t swerve into traffic, suddenly stop, or drive off the road into an unsafe location because you see an animal. If you do, you could be putting more lives at risk than you have the potential of saving. It can be hard to keep driving or just go past the animal, but it is crucial to remember that the safety of all involved parties must be considered before taking any actions. 
  3. If you have the opportunity to take the animal to an animal hospital, put on gloves and quickly place them into a secure cardboard box with ventilation holes, lined with a towel or newspaper. This will protect both you and the animal from further harm. The box will also allow you to safely transport the animal to your next location and help to create a sense of safety for the animal. 

Thank you for reading this article and I hope that you will take the story of Muta to heart and be careful. Many of us here at Heritage are new drivers and are having our first experiences out on the road. Remember that there are things on the road that are not as strong as you, that do not have cars, and that you may not be able to see. If you hit an animal, take responsibility for your actions and help the animal as you might be able to save a life. Stay safe out there and remember the world is more than you.


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