Anat Ghelber
Anat Ghelber

To kill or not to kill should not be the question!

I wrote a blog about a poisoning case in the neighborhood in which I feed cats. People have sent me emails and asked me questions, so I would like to give a more detailed explanation of what happened. I’m asking any Jewish person that can help in any way to please take it upon yourself. As a Jew I feel that it is my duty to bring the subject up because since I wrote the last blog I have not seen any of the cats that I usually feed on Ocean Parkway , which is very sad because in the Jewish teaching, while there is a lot of talk about being good to others, and while it explicitly says in the Torah that God created the animals like he created humans and that we are obligated to take care of them, and in fact it clearly says that you are supposed to feed animals before you feed yourself, for some reason with all that teaching it does not register to some individuals. Some people actually think that animals cannot feel anything, which is clearly not true. Death from poisoning is especially painful. The whole thing started when I was feeding the cats and one of the neighbors yelled at me and told me not to feed on “their property” even though it wasn’t their property, it was the sidewalk where everyone walks. Mind you, the sidewalk was dirty with trash all over, food wrappers, cans, bottles of soda, etc. even a diaper but the only thing that they cared about is me not feeding the. poor, innocent creatures. I decided not to argue back because it could jeopardize this cat’s life and I moved my feeding area off to the side of the public walking path.

In the next couple of weeks I’ve seen cats drop dead in that area. I have a feeling that it has something to do with the neighbors. On Simhat Tora I went on my usual walk to feed the cats and I noticed over all the food a blue, liquid-y poison over what looked like cat food with the cats eating it. Obviously, I made a “SHH” sound so the cats would leave.  Then I picked up the poison. My hands were burning and swollen. I threw the poison away, feeling anxious and hopeless, hoping someone would help me solve the problem. I tried stopping some religious people in the area and asked them if they could speak to the neighbors. One person stopped and yelled, “The cats deserve it. You should not be feeding the cats in the first place.” Feeling hopeless, I took the matter into my own hands and knocked on the neighbors’ doors. They were all nice to me up until I said, “I feed the cats and I noticed poison.” The door was slammed in my face. Other neighbors joked with each other, laughed at me and said, “They’re just cats, who cares.” I understood that there was nobody to talk to, so I decided to go to the cops. It just so happened that there was a police car near the area. I explained to them that people are leaving poison out and that my fingers were burning and that they were not only killing cats, but they’re also risking little kids who play and roll on the ground. The cop just responded that it is my fault because I’m to one making a nuisance and he continued by saying, “beside, they might be putting poison out for the rats.” “But is it legal”, I asked him. He said, “Well, yeah, it’s not legal for you to feed the cats . It’s one thing if they were your cats in your own home, but you should not be feeding the street cats.” I left because I thought that the cop obviously does not know the law.

Seriously, I’m getting really emotional as I’m writing this. Death from poisoning is painful. No one should go through that. People should not kill. I can’t believe that I have to write this blog. Animals are like innocent babies. They are mute and cannot protect themselves. Only you can protect them. My friend told me about another case of a guy who was putting poison in every corner to kill the cats and the birds. This is totally ridiculous, and against the Torah. Actually, in Judaism, we believe in reincarnation. There were a few stories which I won’t get into now, about Jews being born into animals. Any cat could be your family member from your past life. A believer or not, how would you feel if you were out of luck, mute, and abused. Would you want to be saved? I’m not forcing anybody to like cats, but killing another life is not the answer. What if all the animals in the world would be gone? Would you want to live in such a world? If you believe in God, then maybe he has his own reasons for creating them. I want to pose that solution for those who don’t like cats. There are organizations which I volunteer with who take the cats, neuter them, and bring them back, so that these poor creatures don’t reproduce. After neutering the cats, the cats don’t fight each other and howl at night they also keep other cats from coming to the area. I’m not going to lie, if you poison the cats, it will get rid of them – but only temporarily. Sooner or later a new colony will take over. So whether you’re a cat lover or not, or you completely hate cats, I am here to help you. I give you my promise. Please email me and I will help you get your cats neutered. Again, while it is also painful for me that you are poisoning the cats, you are really doing a disservice for yourself. You cannot kill all the cats in the world. Cats’ reproduction is fast. They produce many babies at once. Let’s work together to solve this problem of animals being abused. Please email me at

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