Archive for August 5th, 2008

August 05, 2008

Ever since I was a little girl, much to my parent’s chagrin, I’ve loved stray cats. My first rescue was an orange and white tabby in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan in the dead of winter. My parents found out because of the glaring orange extension cord running from the side of the house into a well protected cardboard box…with a heating pad inside. He was a sweet cat that I would have loved to keep, but I found him a far better home where he could be an “only child”.

We have six, yes…SIX, cats. Three of the six are rescues, and three are from a cattery that I have very close ties with. My long-suffering husband, maintains that we have nine or ten cats as I am always feeding the strays outside. One of our more recent additions, a beautiful, spayed brown tabby we named Belle.

Belle: "I'm so pretty"

Belle: "I'm so pretty"

One morning, about three years ago, she showed up and joined me on the porch for a snuggle and scratch behind her ears. This routine went on for about a week.

We tried to find her owners, we put up posters, contacted the Humane Society, Animal Control and various other groups that might have held a clue as to whom this lovely cat belonged to. An additional three weeks went by, and no one claimed her, or even showed the slightest interest. Animal Control called back and asked if they should come and get her. We declined…and told them we would find her a home. That evening we went out to the porch to put food down, and Belle just sauntered into the house as if to say, “Honey, I’m home!”

After a flea bath, which she sat and tolerated…I’d say in silence, but she was purring too darn loud, we slowly introduced Belle to the house. She adapted beautifully from a cat who was very comfortable on the streets to an indoor cat….Which really made me think about pet owners in general.

Here is this beautiful, affectionate cat who was “cared for” at some point… as evidenced by her being spayed… out on the streets. My biggest question of “Why?” was answered by Animal Control. Animal Control indicated that the largest number of cats they have come to them are in the age group of 11 to 36 months, and the reason why….”They are not kittens anymore, they are not as cute as they once were.” I was told that it was pretty likely that she was dumped far enough away from her home because whoever owned her didn’t want to pay the surrender fee to the Humane Society. Dumping her was much easier and cheaper.

I don’t think I need to say how disgusted this made me….and still does. As I am feeding no fewer than three outdoor cats in the morning and at night, two of which do not have homes and one does have a home but he is not well cared for there.

So a few pointers to prospective pet owners below:

1) Owning a cat is a responsibility, NOT a hobby. This means “Until death do you part”.

2) Your parents didn’t dump you because you grew up and were not as cute as before, don’t dump the cat because of this reason.

3) Yes, owning a cat costs money. If you are not prepared or able to spend funds on the health of your cat, don’t get one until you can, and see #1 and 2.

4) Spay or neuter your cat. Do not allow any babies into the world that you are not prepared to take full and complete responsibility for. See #3.

5) A cat is an INDOOR ANIMAL. If you love your cat, keep it safe inside.

Having had cats around me from birth, I have followed all of these pointers as if they are law. I have spent thousands of dollars on my cats for one reason or another over their lives, and when there was nothing left to do to help them, I was there at the end.

My husband has been very supportive, but I suspect if we become the local cat house, any more than we already are….he’ll divorce me. Nah, he won’t divorce me, but he won’t be too happy, either…and I like a happy house.