I have five cats. To be perfectly honest, the only reason I do not have more is that the arrival of the fourth and fifth cats triggered the asthma that I hadn’t seen since I quit smoking twenty-two years ago. That of course does not mean that the need has lessened in any way 😦
Every day since then, I have seen so many beautiful cats in need. Every week since then my heart has tugged for another lovely that has become collateral damage to human selfishness. And every year since then I am still saddened by the double standard that has allowed cats to be treated like second class pets.
Now before the keyboards cat(ch) on fire .. yes I do know that there are plenty of responsible pet owners who take fabulous care of their cats. From first love to elderyears, these cats are cherished and protected in every possible way. Lets face it .. if every cat owner in this province followed this path … cat rescuers would soon run out of work to do, eh?
What a wonderful world that would be, eh? But here in the real world, responsible cat owners often seem to be the exception rather than the rule, eh? Even worse, there is markedly less public enthusiasm for cat welfare. Sadder still of course is a general reluctance to accept any municipal or provincial responsibility for addressing the unowned .. or community cat .. populations in any sustainable, humane way.
Saddest of all has been the culture created around Animal Control with respect to cats. To be fair, some municipalities have tried to provide better outcomes for some of the cats in its care by partnering with rescues. Others have helped by providing funding for local TNR groups. And yes .. some society branches with animal control contracts do provide better outcomes for the cats they are able to bring into their care.
As helpful as that is … that still does not address the real bottom line. All those abandoned cats who have managed to survive did not pack their bags and decide to leave home one day. It was human disregard for their well-being that put them out on the street.
Now in this province, if a dog is dropped off on a back road, he or she will generally come under the umbrella of animal control. If one wades through the myriad different animal control arrangement to be found in this province, it quickly becomes clear that there are very few municipalities in this province who are even mandated by bylaws to assume responsibility for unowned cats.
Huh! Now of course this is not new information for seasoned cat rescuers. Good grief … why do you think that cat rescuers have become accustomed to acting wherever and whenever they can to help cats?
Until that magic day when there is meaningful municipally sponsored low-cost spay / neuter for cats in this province, you may expect that any cat rescuer worth their salt is not going to leave an emaciated cat to struggle on the street! Straight, sweet and simple!
The sticky subject of how dangerous it is to let pet cats go on walkabout is a testy topic for another day on this blog, eh?
Not to be mean, but it take a Kim Davis level of stupidity to go to the mainstream media and whine about a cat rescuer killing one’s pet cat. Might be a different story if the cat had been well fed and well cared for. Or if timely vet care had been provided by the owner for her aging cat. If dental care had been provided for that poor little mouth.
But then … if all that had been done … the rescuer would have simply tucked the kitty into a foster corner, listed her on the Lost and Found Cat Networks and waited until the happy owner showed up .. full of gratitude and relief. At the very worst, there would have been a gentle scolding about the dangers for senior cats out on the street, eh?
Of all the bits I saw in the media, my favourite quote was from the rescuer … She said she would not have taken the cat had she known he had an owner; instead, she would have called the SPCA. Regardless, she said she submitted a complaint about the cat’s conditions to the organization.
What time is it? Hopefully it is time to see animal cruelty charges laid against the owner. In a bigger picture kind of way … it is also time for all animal control contracts to include vet care for all impounds and provision for community low-cost spay neuter.
PS … it is also time to remember that indoor only cats can leave full and complete lives. My Clive, for instance, at ten is happy and healthy and has not been hurt or injured or worse.