Thursday, September 24, 2009

Responsible pet ownership: a sad kitty and a starved horse

Weather is still unseasonably hot with little relief expected from temperatures in the triple digits until next week. Everyone is sick of it, and I'm sure you're tired of me talking about it. Tough.


I was in Petco the other day to get the indoor boys some kitty food -- they seem to be doing very well (meaning no barfing) on one brand for indoor cats especially. Of course there were the animal cages holding kitties who are adoptable, most of them young, cute, playful. Mostly they sleep -- I don't know if that is simply because they are cats (who sleep some 20 hours a day anyway) or because they're bored or drugged.

But in a bottom cage there was a large Siamese (picture may not be the same cat, but was similar), all tucked in like a sizeable loaf of bread, just sitting there. The sign said he was about nine months old -- around there. You could tell he was stressed. He didn't react to me at all. And I thought who is going to adopt this big boy? How did he even get here -- he is a beautiful cat with beautiful markings? Where did he live before? And will someone take him home before he gets killed?

I puddled up right there in the store and hastily went to the cat food aisle, where I picked out the cat food and wiped my eyes.

So then I was eating lunch and reading our local paper, and here is a story about a horribly starved horse (caution: this link is only good for about seven days but by that time the Safe Haven Horse Rescue hopefully will have info on its site). I'm thinking about how someone can allow an animal to starve to death right before their eyes? To let it wander on its own and try to keep from starving by eating pine needles and dirt, as did another horse saved by Safe Haven?

I know part of it is the economy. Many cannot afford their pets. Craigslist is full of listings from people who must move and cannot take pets with them (although the ones who try to "rehome" said pets with fees of $50 and up seem to be doing that more for the money than for concern about the animal's welfare). But there are always people who collect pets because they're cute and then don't take care of them.

And part of the big problem is, of course, that people do not spay and neuter their animals. Yes, it costs money, although there are organizations nation-wide who offer help. Our local PAWS group gives certificates to help with the costs, available on a first-call, first-given basis every month.

We are so attached to our kitties, especially the inside boys, that it makes us both puddle up a little when we see unwanted animals who are abused and tossed aside. I regularly look at the pets section of our Craigslist -- not that I'm in the market for more cats right now -- and there are so many kittens and puppies available. Lots of pit bulls and older animals too --

Puppies and kittens are cute, no denying that. But they grow up quickly into mature animals, and some of the cuteness wears off (although our indoor boys, at the ripe age of five years, still exhibit the occasional "awwwwww" moments). They are dependent upon us for shelter, food, water, and care. If you can't afford to take care of yourself, you can't afford to take care of a pet. I realize I'm preaching to the choir here, but here is a checklist of pet owner responsibilities.

I don't know that I'll stop by the kitty adoption area the next time I'm in Petco. I can't take them all home and love them. We have seven cats right now, all cared for, fed, vaccinated, and sheltered. I figure any others we're meant to have will find us eventually, pretty much the way all of ours did. But that sad Siamese will haunt me for a long time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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