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Excuses, Laws, and Homeless Cats

Posted by at 5:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (18)


Excuses, Laws, and Homeless Cats by Scott Van ValkenburgWhat is the most annoying excuse you’ve been handed from somebody who refuses to spay or neuter their cat? Is it “Oh, I know I can find homes for all the kittens” or perhaps “My kids need to see the miracle of birth”? Is it “I can’t afford it” (from a person who buys large amounts of cat food, constantly obtains more cats, and drives a large expensive car in a community that has low-cost spay-neuter options) or “I don’t have time”? Or how about the feral—cat feeder who doesn’t want to “put the cat through the trauma of being trapped and taken to the clinic”?

Whatever the excuse, haven’t you wished there was a law that would force these irresponsible breeders to either spay or neuter their animal or pay a fee that would help support local spay-neuter efforts?

PETA operates two mobile spay-neuter clinics in one of the worst areas of the country for homeless animals. Those clinics performed more than 4,700 spay-neuter surgeries on cats in 2008; 684 of those were feral cats who live in presumably “managed” colonies. PETA’s national animal birth control campaign has reached millions with creative messages that spay-neuter is good for the individual animal and vital if we are to save animals from sad lives of suffering on the streets. Good people—sometimes with support from PETA—have passed some great laws.

But there are always those people with excuses. There have been exciting successes that provide local authorities with additional tools to convince people to do the right thing. For instance, the number of homeless cats and dogs has decreased in localities with measures that mandate spay-neuter!

Imagine, then, the outrage experienced by those of us who have spent decades fighting for spay-neuter when a national “feral-cat advocacy” group vigorously opposed a proposed California law that would mandate that (in most cases) people either spay or neuter their cats and dogs or obtain a breeder’s permit! It’s true!

Despite the fact that groups that actively provide spay-neuter services to feral cats in California supported the bill, this national cat group’s name appeared alongside that of other “illustrious” opponents such as the American Kennel Club, the California Cattlemen’s Association, the California Greyhound Coursing Association, and a long list of profit-driven breeder organizations. Is there any excuse for this?

Don’t you have to wonder if, with friends like these, animals have a chance?

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    Pat Summers says...

    October 7th, 2009, 10:28 am

    I’m confused. Here’s a piece of writing on a PETA site that advocates spay-neuter, if not (trap), neuter, (release) as well. Who knows.

    Then there’s the PETA president’s new guide, in which she (for PETA, presumably) comes out against TNR — which is a real disappointment. (See pp. 197,8)

    Ms. Newkirk, won’t you please re-think your stand against TNR for ferals? Talk about “unwanted litters.”

    Scott says...

    October 7th, 2009, 1:04 pm

    Pat,
    Thanks for your comment! In contrast to the irresponsible groups who oppose taking stray cats to shelters and who argue that TNR (it should have an “M” for monitor!) is the ONLY solution for ALL areas and ALL cats, PETA is arguing that altering socialized cats is the key, because even if TNRM succeeds (with help from groups like PETA that operate SNIP, see http://www.helpinganimals.com/about_snipSponsor.asp ) there will always be new ferals coming from unspayed, socialized cats. As for TNRM, PETA’s brochure “Feral Cats, How You Can Help Them” (http://www.petaliterature.com/WEL233.pdf) notes that one possible option is to “Become a model caretaker for a feral cat colony. Maintaining a feral cat colony requires time, patience, resources, and years of commitment.” But euthanasia by injection in a shelter is also a humane solution that is the best option in some circumstances. Too many people are practicing trap-alter-abandon and that is what Ingrid, and anyone with a conscience who cares for cats, has stated. Even in a properly managed colony, cats disappear and face a death that is not as kind as that we provide to our own beloved kitties! Isn’t it shocking that a national TNR group opposes mandatory spay-neuter for cats? When is breeding cats good?

    kerry says...

    October 8th, 2009, 11:28 am

    The excuse i hear for “littering” is their kitten wasnt old enough to be spayed and it got out and got pregnant, and they didnt know it could be spayed while pregnant. I blame some of our local vets who are living in the dark ages and still recommend people wait til their kitty is 5 to 6 months old before it is altered. We have provided these vets information to the contrary, but some still stick with their outdated notions.
    I have mixed feelings about TNR. I have seen colonies that were harmonious, but others that were brutal. New strays attracted by the feeding stations can upset the dynamics which can lead to brutal fights. In our area, many do not survive the winters.

    Cindy Merrill says...

    October 9th, 2009, 7:27 pm

    My landlady has two outdoor stray cats ( both have been fixed): Possom is a full breed Maine Coon cat, he was abandoned as a kitten, we believe, because the markings on his fur aren’t “standard”: THAT IS SICK. He’s a gorgeous four year old cat. “Spooky” is a very timid black and white little female, approx. 11 years old.
    I feed them kitten chow, because its easier for her to digest and the Senior cat food is beyond my budget- my husband complains, but I pay no attention.

    Lisa A. Babbitt says...

    October 9th, 2009, 8:00 pm

    The lamest/dumbest excuse that I was told, “It goes against God’s law.”

    Sarah says...

    October 9th, 2009, 10:10 pm

    Two of our beloved cats where strays and one was feral when i found him tiny and hissing with a few siblings next to his dead mother. He was the only one I was able to get and I still have the scars! The first several months were very rough, but 9 years later he is my daughters “big brother” and an important member of our family. He has so much personality and it breaks my heart to think about so many others who were not as lucky as him.

    Sofia says...

    October 10th, 2009, 2:49 am

    The way I see it, cats should either be neutered or spayed or the kittens they would bring in this world would live a miserable life (most kittens die from hunger, get hit by a car, get diseases etc etc very few of those cats end having a good life in a good home). A law is necessary as well as a law that mandates everyone to declare all of their pets! Animal control should check whether these pets are well treated and whether they are spayed or neutered. If they don’t want to impose a law they should arrange a shelter that will take in and look after all the cats that are born and left alone which is very difficult and it’s not going to work in the long run.
    A law about spay, neuter and declaration of pets would have so many positive effects in terms of long term costs and of course animal welfare.

    Jen says...

    October 10th, 2009, 9:14 am

    What a coincidence I opened this article today! I was just getting ready to make 2 appointments to get 2 strays fixed. They showed up a couple of months ago and as soon as I realized that they apparently have no home, I decided I have to get them fixed.
    Will it be a little hardship on me financially? Yes. But totally worth it to improve their lives! I won’t have to worry about them producing more kittens, because the one thing this world does NOT need is more kittens!

    Marg Durrance says...

    October 10th, 2009, 11:58 pm

    Here is one of the dumbest I heard. “Yes I’ll take 2 kittens as long as they are the same sex” & same person “now I found out that one is a boy & the other a girl & the boy is always after her so now I have to give one away” Duh! No mention of spay or neuter of course….

    SANDY says...

    October 11th, 2009, 6:03 am

    i have 3 indoor cats and 4 feral ones,all fixed..yes, it is an expence, but would you think about money when it conserned your children’s well being? i don’t think so. if you decide to accept the responsibility of taking care of animals, monetary costs do not come into play

    Cherry says...

    October 11th, 2009, 12:22 pm

    How ’bout this one….”I want my children to witness childbirth”. FINE…..THEN WHAT??? How about suggesting to a man he get his male dog neutered and the man winces, crosses his legs and say “no way!!!!”.

    Dolly says...

    October 12th, 2009, 1:00 pm

    I have been the “mother” to..in the beginning 6 feral cats..I know this is a small “colony” in comparison to most of them..one killed coming across the highway..(I gave him a most wonderful kitty burial..in his little rubbermaid tub with a new blanket, some catnip and a couple of kitty toys..I miss him terribly!!) One tamed enough for my wonderful neighbor to give a good “inside” home to..although it required alot of work on her part for him to “adapt” to inside living. The rest are still with me and living their outside lives, are fed twice a day and three times a day in winter months to give them more “body fuel” for the cold days..they all have names which they come to, and are spayed/neutered and rabies vacs. Sometimes it is a hard life managing them..due to arguements with neighbors in my apts that either think they are some kind of “evil mumbo jumbo crap” or just don’t like them period..as well as abandonment of tenants just leaving them..I also have all kinds of feral info neatly taped on my front door trying to “educate” people..if looks could kill guess I would have been dead 5yrs ago..lol..but when I see those faces everyday..wheather it is a good day or not..I love them all!!!!!!!

    Toni Nase says...

    October 13th, 2009, 3:37 pm

    I have 3 cats, all adopted under heartbreaking circumstances. I also have a colony that I care for. In my town there is a TNR program supported by government and donations. My colony is registered and some, not all yet, have been spayed or neutered. It is an expence and sometimes I have to ask for help, but it so worth it. The saddest thing of all is to have one of them trapped and to find out they have already been spayed and abandoned. The managment of my apt. complex are aware they are being fed on the premises but they also know why they are here and if I wasn’t feeding them, they would be in the dumpsters.

    Bonnie Bonsor says...

    October 15th, 2009, 1:09 am

    I took care of a cat who was abandoned by his owners and was on his own outdoors for about a year – so he was almost feral but still quite friendly. I fed him twice daily for about 6 months, neutered him and got his shots, and named him Max. Finally, I found him a loving home with a co-worker who used to be a vet-tech. Now he’s a gorgeous house kitty. I will say that it took some time and effort – especially since my indoor cat Patrick didn’t like it too much…but I feel like if I could do it again and see it through to the end – I would. It just takes a bit of maturity and compassion – which I pray the world will find more of as we evolve. There are NO excuses!

    Sibylle says...

    October 21st, 2009, 8:05 pm

    Cats are responsibilities just like kids. Breeding more cats is incredibly selfish, foolish and irresponsible. We have domesticated the cats, now we have the responsibility to take care of them and provide a humane life for them. Let’s not create millions of more Ferals. It breaks my heart seeing these ferals out in the wet and cold, inadequate food and wiping out the bird population. Please adopt a cat from a shelter. Don’t be selfish!

    Jadey says...

    November 18th, 2009, 1:56 pm

    the worst one is probably: by neutering you’re denying your pet any sexual life (and Iève heard that one for real)…. ARE you serious their sex life is not for fun its reproduction only… there is one of my cat that isnt neutered because her heart wouldnt stand the anasthesia so we got our male catd neutered very shortly after we got them to ensure that our precious Hinata wouldnt get get pregnant (her heart probably wouldnt stand giving birth neither so it was a matter of life or death and we dont play with the life of our loved ones)… On the other hand all my neutered cats are living very well and some better than before we got them neutered (the best example is my daughter’s cat Gollum who was a shy, extremely nervous and not so sociable cat before we got him neutered and now you wouldnt believe how laidback and affectionate he has become)… so yep I’m all for laws to force people to spay/neuter pets but with some exceptions (cause I wouldnt personally risk the life of my little Hinata to get her spayed she is too precious)…

    the worst of all worst thing I have heard about neutering, is the deception of a former friend of mine… who wanted me to allow him to make his dog reproduce with my dog (2 mixed breed dogs) and he was all decieved when I told him she had been spayed YEARS ago… I cant see how he could ignore the fact that I’m anti-reproduction when it comes to pets… and even when I reminded him, he was all but the would have made such cute puppies… who care about cuteness when good dogs like my dog end up a shelters every day (my dog IS a shelter dog the typical ”shepperd mix” you will find in all shelters, those dogs people buy because they a cheap and cute and abandon a year later most likely exactly what happened to my beloved WinterZeit)…

    sue says...

    February 17th, 2010, 12:09 pm

    here is the thing. All the problems that dogs and cats have is because people are so ignorant. So if a law needs to be passed to require cats to be spayed/neutered, I am all for it.
    Dont forget the MILLIONS perhaps BILLIONS of birds that are killed every YEAR due to outdoor cats. Enough with “cat” rights…lets go for animal rights. Especially wild animals that have existed without us messing up their environment for millions of years.

    roxane ramsey says...

    August 15th, 2010, 7:53 pm

    all these comments are well taken alas not one person has a solution to the problem what it takes is a federal law similar to the handicapped citizens you all know the one where you have to lower the railing 2 inches to fit the wheelchair etc etc. american disabilities act right? so we need a federal to protect these animals no ifs ands or buts no good people helping with cheap junk food no goody two shoes showing off her pet we need a written LAW from the federal govt until such time this will go on and on and on with no end in sight unless this planet goes back into the vile dust from which it did come unwept unhonored and unsung the end

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