Pet abandonment is the mother of all feral cats

There is a beautiful golden weeping willow in my yard that was planted when my grandaughter was born. For those unfamiliar with tree lore, a willow is a very feminine tree that draws the upon the strength of water so that it will bend instead of breaking.
We call it the Lydia Tree and it is already nearly twice my height. Looking at it now, one would never imagine we were able to tie it up so that it could be brought home from the Briar Patch in my little hatchback.
I’m one of those earthy grandmothers who was right there when my grandaughter was born. It was an incredible experience that was only matched by my own daughter’s birth …. although admittedly I had a much more ‘comfortable’ view the second time around : )))
Honestly, I don’t know what made me more proud …. the fact that my daughter was determined to have a ‘natural’ childbirth or their deliberate decision … made well in advance of the actual pregnancy …. that one child is a socially and environmentally responsible choice.
In today’s world, we have the ability to make choices like this. In my grandmother’s day, the old parish priests in North Sydney had no qualms about bullying coal miners’ and fishermens‘ wives into believing it would be a sin NOT to have large families. It didn’t matter whether they could afford so many children … it was just one more way that the ‘old school’ priests kept women in their place.
In my mother’s day, most good catholics simply crossed their fingers in confession and didn’t consider a prescription for the pill to be any of the priest’s business.
The point I’m making here of course is that for most people these days, there are a myriad of options to allow women to have control over their own fertility.
Sadly the same is not true for our companion animals. If it is a crapshoot just to be a pet, the same holds true in spades for any of the females. If they are lucky, the cute little youngsters come into the care of responsible guardians who have them properly vaccinated and altered.
The unlucky ones wind up in the care of those who are too careless or cheap or too darned stupid to ‘do the right thing”. When they invariably become pregnant, the lucky ones are accepted into a No Kill shelter, while the truly unlucky ones are either abandoned by the wayside, taken to the vets, or ‘done away with’ in a variety of horrible ways.
Last week at S.H.A.I.D, the first shelter worker to arrive early in the morning found a battered cardboard box at the gate that had been duct taped shut. Inside were two tiny two week old kittens, so chilled that it was clear they had been there for hours. A hole had been clawed in the side of the box, leading them to believe that the mother cat had originally been in the box but had escaped in her fright.
There wasn’t a lot of optimism about finding the frightened little mother who was on the loose in an unfamiliar area, but traps were set out in an effort to try. The kittens were cleaned up and tucked in with another young mother cat who had just weaned her own babies.
The horribly ironic thing was that at this particular time, there actually was no waiting list and the mother cat could have been safely surrendered with her kittens.
By an absolute Mother’s Day Miracle, they were eventually successful in trapping the little mother, who was barely past kittenhood herself. It will be a few weeks before her kittens are weaned and the little mother is available for adoption herself.
The reason pet abandonment is illegal and is actually animal cruelty is because it is a terrible thing to do to a pet. My own little Morgan had been in the same boat, and by the time she was rescued and brought to SHAID with her litter of kittens, she had been so very badly hurt that she couldn’t even walk. Its not being melodramatic to state that pets do not have … nor should they need .. the skills to survive on their own.
How do we create a climate where it becomes socially unacceptable to be an irresponsible pet owner? The same way that any other illegal activity is stopped …. by changing the laws so that the penalties act as a deterrent. If DIU penalties hadn’t been stepped up, the good old boys around here would still be driving around with a two four in the front seat of their trucks.
At the end of the day, from spousal abuse to drug busts, deterrents don’t stop everything. But they do cut down on the ‘foot traffic’ which in turn liberates law enforcement to pursue the others.
A Town Hall meeting on stray and feral cats announced , where seasoned TNR folks will be putting their heads together with animal advocates and interested folks from around the province. Good presentations will be made for TNR and its successes. Its wonderful to see such a groundbreaking effort being made by the society.
If you can’t get to the meeting, at least make the time to let your MLA’s and your municipal councillors know that providing the society with the resources to enforce the law against pet abandonment is a critical part of the solution
Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand. – Bodie Thoene

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