What is the life of a cat worth? The MTA faced this vexing philosophical question earlier today when two tiny kittens — it's unknown whether they were strays or pets, but nobody in the vicinity seemed to own them — were spotted scurrying around on the tracks at the Church Avenue B/Q stop in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. At 11:06 a.m., the MTA shut down power to the B and Q subway and halted service along those lines for long stretches — Dekalb Avenue to Brighton Beach for the B, Dekalb to Stillwell Avenue for the Q — as workers tried to whisk the felines to safety. Apparently herding cats is as difficult as the idiom implies, because when Q service and local B service was restored an hour and 24 minutes later, the cats still had not been captured. (Full service was finally restored by 1:09 p.m., a spokesperson says.)
In the meantime, bus service was put in place to help any stranded passengers, but when it comes to speed, as we all know, buses are no subway.
So at the risk of being labeled a proponent of kitten murder, we feel it's worthwhile to at least put up for debate whether it's reasonable to halt two subway lines for an hour and a half in order to save two cats. Here are the pro and con arguments, as we see them:
Pro: Who cares if a few thousand people were inconvenienced for a little while? These are beautiful, innocent creatures. We should do what we can to protect them from being electrified by the third rail or crushed by a train. What if they were puppies instead of kittens? You are a monster.
Con: The subway is the lifeblood of New York and shouldn't be shut down suddenly except in rare, monumentally significant circumstances. What if some people missed job interviews because of the long, unexpected delay? What if they were late for big meetings? What if they missed important doctor appointments? These things probably happened. It's unfortunate, but animals die sometimes. It's not like they were puppies, anyway.