Monday, November 13, 2017

What's the answer?

People won't even stop being cruel to each other, so how do you make them stop being cruel to animals? Think on that for a sec...

All my foster cats and kittens have left. More will come soon... I sure miss these guys (well, not Pirate Kitty! Pirate Kitty is staying!)



Buddy is in a loving home now.



Luna, one of the first eight kittens I fostered for the OSPCA this summer, is now with my friend Cat and her boyfriend. They adore her!



My foster kitty Willie (now Dusty) is in a great new home and likes to jump in the fridge when his family opens the door (so they are very careful not to shut him in!)


Mycroft, one of the "six dwarves" of my foster mama cat Snow White is living the kitty dream with my friends Marie-Emmanuelle and Patrick, my godsons, and four dog siblings (two in this picture) plus two cat siblings, including Stella, the white kitty in this pic. M-E saved her from the side of a road in Quebec where here sibling had already been squashed by a car.

It's great to see these happy endings, but there are many more unhappy ones. The last time I was in our local feed mill, they had two kittens there looking for homes. Two had already been adopted out. Someone had left a box with the mama cat and her four babies at the door of the feed mill. They kindly took the cats in, but Mama, who was very affectionate and had clearly been a pet, keep vomiting, so they got her into a rescue where she could receive proper care. Really not the feed mill's responsibility! But they did the right thing to help these dumped felines.

The salesclerk told me that the first time the Mama cat vomited, she threw up cigarette butts, because that is what she had been trying to eat to keep herself nourished to feed her babies. 

Cigarette butts. Yes, the cat was eating cigarette butts to survive.

Think on that, all you people who dump cats in the countryside and think they'll be able to hunt for themselves. Even this desperate Mama had to take to eating cigarette butts because that's all she could find. The salesclerk shook her head as she told me this story. She couldn't understand how people could be so cruel. 

Neither can I. 

For example, Pirate Kitty would still have both his eyes had his mother Nina been properly cared for when she gave birth (even better, she should have been spayed so that she could never have had unwanted kittens in the first place!) Instead, Nina and her babies were taken to the OSPCA in an appalling state: hungry, skinny, flea-ridden and suffering from upper respiratory infections. Little Stella nearly died from anemia due to flea bits. And an URI led to the complications that cost Pirate Kitty his eye...



More completely unnecessary suffering. Fortunately our Pirate boy is resilient, but he will soon need surgery to remove his ruined eye.

I am beside myself these days over the way cats and kittens in my part of the world are too often treated like garbage. People can't be bothered to have them spayed or neutered; when they get pregnant or start marking the house, they are tossed out and people get new kittens, then repeat the cycle. They dump them in the countryside, they dump them in other people's garages and barns,  or they just toss them outside to fend for themselves. My cat Emily was dumped at my farm on a bitter January day, and lost the tip of her tail to frostbite. It's amazing she survived at all.

Let me just say that you're an idiot if you think your dumped cat or kitten is going to be just fine because it can hunt for itself. It's not. At best, it will have a short, miserable life before falling prey to a car, a coyote, disease or any number of awful things.

For whatever reason, this year has been a hellacious year in our area for unwanted cats and kittens. Every shelter and rescue organization I know is overflowing. People have been asking me daily to take in cats and kittens, and I only have two small rooms for that; I'm not a shelter or even a rescue, really. But people are desperate... one lady had a pregnant cat dumped in her garage. Now she is trying to find a place for mama cat and three babies.

Most of the farmers in my area treat barn cats as completely expendable. These cats have litter after litter of babies. They get run over, eaten by predators, you name it... any number of nasty possibilities. But hey, there will be more soon! It's so ingrained, I don't have the strength even to discuss it with the many farmers I know (who are generally nice, decent people!) I just don't get why so many people think cats are less deserving of consideration than dogs (who suffer enough abuse) or horses (who also suffer enough abuse) or

For me, it all comes down to needless and utterly preventable suffering. Get your cat spayed or neutered. End of. If you run out of, say, barn cats, don't worry! There will always be plenty of cats around looking for homes or a warm barn. Really. No shortage. There will never be a shortage of cats in the world. Never.

So what's the answer? What's the question? My question is, how the hell do we get it through to people that not neutering your cats, letting them have even one litter, is the pathway to completely preventable suffering? How do we get people to understand the despair those of us involved in rescue feel when we have to say "no" to yet another needy cat, because our shelter is already full of needy cats? In my area, at least, things never seem to get any better...

I see something special in every cat I come across. Thus it breaks my heart to see them suffer, and for such easily avoidable reasons.

I haven't found an answer to my question yet. I feel like maybe we need to change attitudes towards cats (and dogs and...) at the root level with attempts to educate children, which no doubt has been tried before. I think our nearest city, Cornwall, needs a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. Our OSPCA shelter there has the highest cat intake in Ontario and there is a huge stray/feral cat problem in that city. We need a bigger, better shelter. We need more government funding for said shelter (everyone thinks the Cornwall OSPCA receives government funding. It does not.)

But really, I don't know what the answer is. I'm just tired of being distressed over messages from desperate people looking to place unwanted, suffering cats. I've been wracking my brains trying to think of some novel way to deal with the problem, but so far, no luck. So instead I just get angry at the people who shrug off or worse, cause the suffering of animals. Sometimes I hate them, especially when I'm holding a sickly, suffering kitten. But I don't want to turn into a bitter old crazy cat lady, plus there really are lots of wonderful people left in the world, people who care passionately about many things, including cats.

If you can judge a nation by how it treats its animals, Canada still has a long way to go...

I'm still hoping for an answer to my question.

20 comments:

  1. Amen, and no answer.It happens here. A couple fights, breaks up, end housekeeping. They move everything--except the cat.The animals break my heart. I cannot take them. I hope the people who do this aren't even allowed into hell. They can just beat on the door until they starve, or worse.

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    1. I guess we do what we can... I just feel like surely there is something more I can do.. sigh!

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  2. My heart breaks for these unwanted cats. So cruel. I do what I can by donating as I can only handle one kitty in my home due to allergies by family members.

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    1. You do what you can to help! :) I could adopt 100 cats tomorrow and it would be a blip...

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  3. When I was born this planet was inhabitated by about 1.5 billion humans. When I am off to the urn there might be nine or ten billion. And you wonder about cats?
    I have heard when there's not enough food,rats would stop breeding.
    Rats seem to be more 'intelligent' than cats and ... homo sapiens sapiens.
    Sorry, Knatolee, I do admire your enthusiasm, but the older I get the less time I have to be diplomatic.
    The peace of the night.


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    1. Well I've sort of given up on the humans... I try to be kind to them though!

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    2. Helping animals is my thing though... and I don't believe humans are the top of the universal food chain. We're too stupid! ;)

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    3. Isn't it sad, my dear? Giving up on the humans?
      Sometimes I feel glad having become old, but then I do see my beloved grandchildren ...

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    4. I struggle not to get cynical in my old age! ;) I do love the hope and enthusiasm of children...

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    5. Hm ... so let's build a temple for optimism.
      I am very glad you did not take my words the wrong way. It's easy to get misunderstood when not sitting face to face; and even then ... :)
      And now, the peace of the night, Knatolee. Be sure I am thinking of you and Gordon much more often than I am commenting.

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  4. Oh Love, I don't have an answer, but I am infinitely grateful that there are people like you (and Gordon) in the world. We can only keep doing what we can and remain hopeful.

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  5. I so strongly feel your pain and I empathize. America is not any better than Canada. It just makes me sick. That story about the poor mama cat eating cigarette butts tore me up. I wish I would win the lottery, if I did I would open a sanctuary......wouldn't it be wonderful? Wait! You already have one because you are an Angel xoxo catchatwithcarenandcody

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  6. Twenty years ago I thought things would have changed by now but , no. And now that I live in the country I see first hand at how barn cats are treated. If they are lucky enough to be fed every day they still are not protected or treated by a vet when sick. I can't bare it. I have to stay away because I don't know how to change it. :( I still feel though that there has to be answer.

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  7. California has adopted more of a TNR (Trap Neuter return) policy, but then again we don't have very cold winters like Canada. There are many rescue groups who simply go out there and feed the colonies every day after TNR. The idea of caging them in a shelter to find them a home is fading away, very slowly though. Unfortunately we can't stop suffering off the face of the Earth, but we can do our best to make a difference in that one's life.

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  8. Sadly preaching to the choir. But thank you for making a difference. It's also why we have only ever had rescued cats.

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  9. A good friend of mine has a farm. She has so many cats dumped along the road that runs up behind her barn it just isn't funny. She is completely over run and can't catch them. Several of them are breeding repeatedly. My friend can't even see the mums until the kittens are well mobile, then she tries to trap them. It's a sad vicious circle and she is just frustrated and devastated about the whole situation. She did manage to catch two of the cats and took them to the SPCA. They wanted her to give them money to take these cats, money she doesn't have.
    I wish people would STOP dumping these cats!

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  10. Natalie, I don’t understand people either. Since moving to our current home a year ago I have noticed more and more stray cats. We live right on the edge of Brighton with farms just a few blocks away. I guess people are dumping cats at the farms and some find their way into our neighbourhood. We are currently feeding four strays. I know my neighbours are not thrilled with us doing this but I can’t see the poor kitties starving.
    Take care.

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  11. Another wonderful and heartfelt post. If only half of us had half as much compassion and caring in their hearts as you do this world would be a better place for us and those we share it with.
    I think it should be mandatory for everyone to have to spend a day in a shelter and to watch as innocent life after innocent life is gassed to death simply because they were unwanted, unloved, and deemed expendable through absolutely no fault of their own.
    It breaks your heart and it changes you forever. As parents and adults we must teach our children compassion.. we must educate them and we must help them along the path to the Humane treatment of every single living thing on this planet. We were not put on this planet to harm. We must love each other and we must love the animals we share our lives with. Every single life matters.

    Until we stop seeing ourselves as the superior species and treating the ones beneath us as just that-beneath us-
    there will be no change.
    Each and every one of us is responsible to show those around us compassion. We are born with a great capacity for compassion and love but somewhere along the line it gets buried in a lot of people. We have to extend our hand to everyone and everything to make this a better world.

    For those who cannot foster adopt or bring any more animals into their home donate some money to someone who can. $5 $10 $20 it's a couple cups of coffee but it can mean the difference between life and death for a sentient,living, feeling,breathing being. It's not a lot to ask and it's not a lot to do.

    Acts of compassion and caring will make you feel good. You'll feel good about yourself you'll feel good about what you've done and you just might save a life. Just think you can tell all your friends- I saved a life today.

    A giant compassionate hug from my heart to yours Natalie and Gordon and to all of you who rescue, rehab and save lives every single day.

    May Karma smile upon you and all who do everything they can for animals.

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Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!