Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Safe and Happy Life



A kitten or puppy comes into this world, like people, with a chance of landing anywhere. The cats I know and the cats in the blogging world I know have landed in safe, happy homes. At this moment I hear the thunder of little paws upstairs and chortling and squealing as Harper bats his toys around. Last night he got introduced to the kitty go crazy toy, you know, the plastic ring with the ball in the perimeter that spins around. He liked that a lot. And they have both learned to climb the cat trees, though Ramona had to show Harper how to back down. I think she might be the brains of this pair.

Brendan did dawn patrol checking for signs of Jakey the Barn Cat and Silas was up all night doing Mousekeeping. They lead contented lives, though Silas is still afraid of the kittens. And their lives will continue to be as safe and healthy and happy as we can make them. And in return they give us their love and comfort. A good arrangement all around.

But I keep thinking about the forty cats euthanized last week at a shelter in New York as written about by Mandy in Tales and Tails of New York. They did not land in safe homes, or if they once did, were disposed of at the shelter often for flimsy reasons. Their lives took a sudden and tragic turn when second homes and second chances were not available. And all over the country the story is repeated. Millions of healthy, loving animals are killed in this country every year, simply because their are not enough homes.

And yet, in the back of Cat Fancy magazine as I was leafing through it while sitting at the vets, I saw pages and pages of ads for people selling kittens. And I know it is the same for puppies.

One of the most heartening signs I see in this country though is the no-kill movement and a growing awareness of the injustice faced by these creatures whose only crime is being unwanted or a burden to their owners. I was in a mall a while ago in the southern part of our state and I was startled to see puppies for sale in a pet store. I remember there was a store here in our local mall which sold puppies and kittens. At the time, not too long ago, I didn't think about it.

But now I do and I think we need strong laws against selling cats and dogs for money. We need a bigger understanding of the rights of animals to live and be cared for and not treated as something we own. I don't know anything of the laws that concern people breeding cats and dogs so there isn't much I can say about it except what I feel.

Some people would say there are far more important things to be worried about in the world and our efforts should go to taking care of people first. I would like to see a more caring, humane society all around. But I think that if you teach children to have empathy for animals, they will have more empathy for other children and when they grow up they will be better, kinder adults.

And that would give us a better world all around.

12 comments:

Aloysius said...

Amen to that!

Mudpuppy said...

I absolutely agree that dogs and cats shouldn't be sold in pet stores. I still question how much role responsible breeders play in the pet overpopulation problem, though. Ultimately, I think shelters are overcrowded because of irresponsible owners who don't spay and neuter their animals. A good breeder will only sell a few kittens per year, and will have a spay/neuter contract and will offer to take the cat back if the new owner ever can't keep it. In contrast, an irresponsible pet owner will pick up a couple of free kittens outside the grocery store, not have them fixed, and a few months later end up with more kittens being born. Maybe they pass those kittens to neighbours or maybe they get dumped on the street, but it all goes back to that first person who didn't spay or neuter their pet.

I know a lot of people don't like the concept, but maybe we need mandatory spaying and neutering of pets. True breeders can apply for an exemption and pay a fee for a special license. Any animal picked up by animal control would be spayed/neutered at the owner's expense before being returned to them. If I was wealthy, I'd happily implement a program where I paid people to have their pets fixed, sort of like a "concert tickets in exchange for guns" thing.

It's been shown time and time again that TNR programs with feral cat colonies do work to stabilize and/or reduce the size of the colony. Obviously the "neuter" part is what's making a difference, so maybe we need to "TNR" the entire pet population until we get things under control.

Edsel/The Pooch said...

it is a sad world when so many cats and dogs are killed for lack of homes. i always say if i ever win the lottery, building a cat sanctuary here we come!
Edselsmom

~ J ~ said...

There is no better way to know a persons character then to see how they treat animals.....

Smeagol & Strider (Mystery & Gizmo too!) said...

We agree, too!

Thanks for addin' us to your blogroll, and we'll definitely add you to ours!

Zeus said...

This was a wonderful post. I know my human pet would more than likely agree.

Magoo, Smudge, Bella & Dolce said...

I will have to second MudPuppy's comment. Responsible breeders aren't the problem. It's the backyard breeders, whether the animal is purebred or not. But where do they find the marketplace for their animals: pet stores. We got two of our furkids from pet stores and the other two from rescue and humane societies.

DEBRA said...

Very good post. I totally agree with you. It hurts my heart to know that so many animals are left out like last night garbage. I have 5 cats and each one of them is a rescue because someone wasn't willing to love them for the beautiful creatures that each one of them is.

The Meezers said...

3 of my 4 are rescued kitties, left outside as babies too young to be separated from their mommies. I cannot stand the thought of animals left on their own. I am with Edsel, if I ever win the mega millions, I am going to build the world's biggest no kill shelter. In the mean time, I will just keep my house open to all strays who grace my doorstep.

Knightly, Lizzie, & Firenze said...

We have great life and loves our Mum.

We have added you to our links and thanks for adding us to yours.

Firenze

Luna said...

Hi I´m Luna! Nice pic! I´m a happy kitty too! =^^=

Bonnie Underfoot said...

Our schools have a Humane Ed program in 4/5th grades that takes kids to the county shelter to learn about pet over-population. In class, they learn responsible pet ownership. Hopefully these children will grow up to be part of the solution!

Local pet stores of all sizes only have shelter pets available and house adoption fairs every weekend; that's how Victor adopted me. No breeder pets available there.