Here we are, almost knee-deep in another kitten season.
More than half the calls we get at Adopt A Pet (a California canine
rescue group), 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 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
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 simply not enough homes for all of the cats
born in this country. 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 are all full, and the cutbacks in state
services have reduced the help that Animal Control 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 quickly learn lack of compassion 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
contracting 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 that
price, and maybe even less. Considering that over a million cats are
killed in this country's shelters each year, that means that over $35
million dollars are spent just to kill cats. Instead of spending so much
of our tax dollars on killing our companion animals, 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 that 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 without the benefit of even that last tender moment during
euthanasia, because it is just too scared to hold still. The cats that
become coyote food. 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 you cat is
not "fixed," you are the problem. Don't adopt a cat/kitten unless you
are ready to make the appointment for spaying or neutering. If you have
a cat, DO IT NOW. All cats should be spayed/neutered by 6 months of age
and can be safely done as young as 8 weeks. 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
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.
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