Animal Writes
2 May 1999 Issue

Who Does It Hurt?
by [email protected]

Here we are, knee-deep in another kitten season. I volunteer for a canine
rescue group, but more than half the calls we get are cat related during kitten
season. The feline rescue groups are totally overwhelmed. Why don't people
realize there is a simple solution to the problem?

Who does it hurt when you don't spay or neuter your cat? ME! It hurts me
when after the 40th call of the day trying to give the best advice I can to the
people who have unwanted kittens, I answer the phone to someone who
angrily accuses me of not caring, wanting to know what I think I'm being paid
for (I'm a volunteer), and then proceeds to try to intimidate me with the horrible
things she is going to do to her unwanted kittens.

Who does it hurt? Neighbors who find litters of kittens deposited on their
front doorstep, or abandoned under their house and are now forced to make
a decision that the irresponsible owner couldn't make. There are never
enough homes available for all the kittens born in the United States each year,
so this kind soul has sleepless nights because he may be forced to take the
animals to the pound to be destroyed, while the irresponsible owner sleeps
peacefully in the erroneous belief that the kittens will have found good homes.
Or worse yet, the owner may not even know that his cat has produced kittens.
Is this fair?

Who does it hurt? I received a call from an elderly lady who is deathly
allergic to cats, and all the cats in the neighborhood have taken up residence
in her yard. She is finding it difficult to get in and out of her own home,
having to hold her breath to walk as fast as she can to her car, fearing that
the cats trying to rub against her legs, will trip her. This desperate woman
has tried calling every cat group and found that they were all full, and the
cutbacks in state services have cut down on the help that Animal Control (the
pound) can give.

Who does it hurt? The children whose parents thought it educational to show
them the miracle of birth and those same children who first suffer grief and
then are desensitized when kitten after kitten are killed by cars and they have
to see these squashed little cat bodies while walking to school. The children
who quickly learn that life is cheap. The children who are in danger of con-
tracting rabies from cats that are seldom given rabies shots and who at any
time may come into contact with skunks, bats, or other wild animals who may
be infected with this deadly disease.

Who does it hurt? The public pocketbook. For every 11 cats that go into this
country's pounds, only 1 makes it out alive. An estimated $35 is spent to
handle each animal in the pound (includes overhead, housing, feeding and
lethal injection). By taking advantage of spay/neuter assistance programs,
your cat's surgery can cost half of that price. The 6 Los Angeles Animal
Control centers killed 26,416 cats last year (72 each day), equaling $925,000
spent to kill cats. Instead of spending so much of our tax dollars on killing our
pets, that money could be used to help homeless people, abused children, or
even just reduce our taxes. Just think -- your neighbors negligence or your
own is causing higher taxes. Is this acceptable to you?

Who does it hurt the most? The animals are the ones who truly suffer.
The 3-day-old kitten who dies slowly of starvation under a bush. The kitten
that climbs into a warm car engine for the night and gets chopped up by the
fan belt when the car starts in the morning. The cat that never having been
treated kindly by humans, needs extra restraints and an injection into the
heart instead of the leg vein, during euthanasia, because it is too scared of
humans to hold still. The cats that become coyote food in our hillsides and
wildlands. The cats given away in front of supermarkets to "good homes" that
are abandoned shortly after. The cats that should have expected that since
they are domestic animals whose birth can be controlled, they would not be
born if they weren't wanted by people who would protect and care for them
for the rest of their lives.

Are you one of those people who are hurting all of us by allowing your cat (or
dog) to go unspayed or unneutered? If your cat is not "fixed", you are the
problem. Don't adopt a cat/kitten unless you are ready to make the appoint-
ment for spaying or neutering. If you have a cat, DO IT NOW. All cats
should be spayed/neutered by 6 months of age. NO -- it is not healthier for
an animal to go through it's first heat before altering. NO -- it is not better for
an animal to have one litter. And NO we will never run out of cats, unless due
to overpopulation, one of the diseases that now afflicts cats, wipes them all
out. Spaying and neutering now, can keep this kind of disaster from

Please save this article and show it to a neighbor or friend that is harboring an
unaltered cat. Help make a difference before the next kitten season arrives.

Go on to Jack Kerouac at a Bullfight in Mexico
Return to 2 May 1999 Issue
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