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A Short Moral Tale

Once upon a time a lady who loved animals took a vacation at an upscale island hotel, part of a chain offering cheap promotional rates to entice customers to a new location where the local staff still needed training.

On the hotel grounds lived a grey cat that belonged to no one. The cat was skinny but healthy-looking. When people congregated at the outdoor bar the cat approached quietly and miaowed, asking for food. But the cat was well-behaved and wary, and seemed to understood that making a nuisance of itself would be counterproductive. So no one paid much attention to the cat and it lived in tentative coexistence with the hotel, fending for itself.

One day the lady who loved animals fed the cat a bit of her tuna baguette; on another day she gave it scraps of turkey and bacon from a club sandwich. The cat was so hungry that it even ate french fries, though it rejected bread.

Being kind, the lady then bought some tins of cat food in a local supermercado. The next time she went to the outdoor bar, she took along the cat food, opened a tin, and gave it to the cat, who devoured it. The lady cleaned up carefully and deposited the empty can in the garbage. No one was bothered.

But a man wearing long trousers and a tie and carrying a clipboard, part of the mainland management of the chain, was visiting the island that day, checking to see on how well the newly trained local employees were performing their tasks. He saw the stray cat being fed. He spoke quietly to the staff at the bar. A little later the grey cat was observed being deposited into a plastic soft-drink crate which was then covered with a towel, and then placed on a shelf in the bar supply hut. The cat miaowed plaintively and then soon fell silent.

The lady asked what was happening. The bar tender said that the local humane society had been called and would come to pick up the cat. She gave the bar tender her last can of cat food to send with the cat to the humane society, and they placed it on top of the towel on top of the crate. A few hours later the crate was gone.

Sometimes a little help can do a lot of harm.

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