The Starving Homeless Cat and Lessons on Making the World a Better Place


The Starving Homeless Cat

When I was living in Morocco, I saw stray cats everywhere. Often hissing and scratching whenever anyone came near, they were angry and filthy. People kept their distance.

Moving to Houston, I was confronted with a similar problem. While nowhere near as bad as Morocco, there were a few feral cats in my neighborhood.

One cat in particular, setup residence just outside my apartment. Whenever I opened the door, she was lying either on my porch or in the bushes out front.

At first, I treated her like a pest – just like everyone did with the ones in Morocco. As I passed by, I didn’t give her a second look and she would run off and keep watch from a distance.

I told myself that it was only a stray cat – who cares what happens to her?

Then one day, for whatever reason, I took a closer look. On inspection, I noticed she was beaten up and so hungry that I could almost make out her ribs.

It was the first time I took notice of how much this animal was suffering. Realizing that I had been ignoring her pain for months tore me up inside.

I’m a big proponent of building a better life and making the world a better place, but here was a living reminder of how much more I could be doing. How did I walk past this cat for so long and fail to notice how much she was suffering?

A big problem was my mindset.

When I lived in Morocco, I had ingrained this idea that stray cats were pests and should be treated as vermin. But this mindset clouded my judgement and I overlooked the needs of a poor creature right outside my door.

That all changed.

I walked into my apartment and got a small cup of cat food (I have my own cat) and laid some out to feed her. She was incredibly scared at first, but eventually came closer and closer.

As she crept out of the shadows to eat, she became more trusting. Eventually she got close enough to let me pet her

Weeks passed. The more I fed her, the more friendly and trusting she became. She even started to approach me and meow when I came near.

I looked up information on the best practices to take care of feral cats. Houston has a free program to vaccinate and neuter strays, but this cat had already been taken in (you can tell by her ear which had been clipped).

Now that I’ve been feeding her and giving her positive attention, she has come out of the shadows. She’s lively and energetic and well-fed enough so you no longer see her ribs.

Because of my actions, she’s no longer needlessly suffering.

What I Learned About Making the World a Little Better

It’s easy to look at the world and see all the big problems going on around us. When we hear about injustice and violence, we want to do something.

Most of these problems are outside our control; there’s little we can do about the things we see happening in the news. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to make the world better.

Think about how to make your surroundings a little better – the things and people you actually interact with on a regular basis.

Do a random act of kindness.

Stand up for someone who needs help.

Make someone smile.


It starts by recognizing what you can do to help. In Morocco, no one gave a second thought to the stray cats. Even local Moroccans seemed not to notice the problem – most had no clue why there were so many stray cats to begin with.

But because they ignored the stray cats, it continued to be a problem there. Many cats needlessly suffer and die there because no one will take the time to do anything about it.

That’s what I had become too – someone who saw a clear problem but simply ignored it or refused to believe that it was there at all.

As Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” This cat taught me that I can’t just sit back and let bad things happen without doing something about it. If I just let this cat slowly starve to death, how could I possibly forgive myself?

Making the world a better place isn’t a one person job. It’s all our jobs. Think of how wonderful the world would be if we all just spent a little time trying to improve it.

As small as it may seem, by helping this cat, I’m making the world just a little better – it’s an extremely tiny, fraction better – but still better.

Even small efforts, if done by many people, can make a noticeable difference.

And really, that’s all most of us can do. For most people, making the world a better place starts by doing good at home.

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  1. Oliver Benson says:

    Great article Steve! Really enjoy your articles about making the world a better place :)

  2. I’m so glad you were able to truly see the cat and help her. It is really hard to take off the blinders we’ve become accustomed to wearing. Thanks for the reminder to really look at what is going on around us.

    • There was a chance I might never have noticed her and she would have continued suffering. I’m so glad that I took a closer look and took action on it.

  3. Thanks Steve, your story touched me.

    What made you help this cat is what made me become vegetarian.
    It’s what makes me passionate about helping people.

    In my case, helping family man escape the grind, follow their life purpose while putting the family first.
    When I see men struggling to spend time with their family while wasting their time realizing someone else’s dreams, being miserable. I can’t ignore them. I want to help them be happy.

    And that’s what your blog is about. Helping people reintroduce the cool activities into their life. Activities that make them happy. That fill them with LIFE.

    • I want them to be happy too. Yeah, that’s why I started this blog – to get people to do more cool, fun things in their life and do more to realize their own dreams rather than make someone else’s come true. I like to help people, and obviously animals too. I like to help.

  4. This works way better than giving money to charity, right? Feels better too …

  5. Aww, that was nice of you Steve. It shows real compassion.

    That just goes to show you that two situations that seem the same can have very different outcomes. Guess it’s all how you handle it.


  6. What a powerful life experience you had! We can’t change everything but we can influence/impact our local area for the positive, even if it is simply feeding a cat or helping our neighbor. Thank you for sharing this powerful post with us.

    • As much as I’d like to change everything, I know I can’t. But I know I can change the things that are going on around me. And if it gets others to do some good too, it will be even better.

  7. Steve, thanks for the encouragement. It’s the day to day small actions that really count.

  8. All too often we fail to see what is needed when it is close to home. It’s a theme that creeps up over and over…like in To Kill a Mockingbird when the Missionary Society ladies worried about how to help those suffering in other countries, but couldn’t see the hatred and suffering in their own town.

    • Isn’t that such a great book? I remember that group. Yeah, they would talk about all the things going on elsewhere, but didn’t do much about things going on around them. That book is such a great piece of literature.

  9. “Collaboration in the development of the whole person and of every human being is in fact a duty of all towards all.”

    I think it’s applicable to cats too 😉 All in all saint Francis of Assisi called animals our brothers.

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