Tuesday, February 26, 2013
It's Just One Litter
There is not a day that goes by that I am not hit in the face one way or another by the extreme over population of companion animals in this world. Sometimes it is a really cute way, like when a kitten I am fostering paws at me for the first time. Sometimes it is a really heart breaking way, like when a kitten I have been fighting to save dies from something that should have been preventable.
This is just in my world. I live in one tiny corner of one tiny little town. When I venture forth I see it everywhere. Rescues overwhelmed with animals crying for help. People who are looking for places to place a stray or their own cat that they have to give up for what ever reason where they will have a chance to find a home.
Every day, actually to be brutally honest every eight seconds, a companion animal loses its life simply because there was no where for it to go.
Warning, image kept intentionally small - but I think everyone should see this. Everyone should know.
I saw this image on Facebook a while back. If I let myself dwell on it for any length of time my eyes start to leak. I don't see broken unadoptable animals here, I see all of the foster kittens I've taken care of. Before the shelter had a foster program, kittens too small to be adopted were routinely euthanized. Many shelters still do. Most open admission shelters have to euthanize regularly to keep themselves from warehousing animals or being financially drained and put out of business. "No Kill" shelters are not funded or staffed well enough to take on the onslaught that open admission shelters have to deal with.
Why? Well there are the stray, feral, and unowned cats reproducing, but often it is because people insist that their kitty should reproduce. Their kitty is unique, special, loving, sweet, kind, loyal... beautiful. Their kitty deserves just one litter.
No. They don't.
Nor do they want one. Cats are not like humans who ache to have kids, cats are ruled by the hormones that course through their body thanks to their ovaries or their testies and as a result that is all they want or thinking of it other terms, they are slaves to their hormones. They *must* procreate. If you have ever seen a cat in heat, you know she is not comfortable. Have you ever seen a cat mating? Think there is anything enjoyable in that? The penis of an intact male has barbs on it to rip the lining of the uterus of the cat.
Then there is the fact that there is a darn good chance that your kitty's kittens are going to be nothing like your kitty. Unless you have pure bred cats on both sides of the equation, than you are playing a genetic Russian Roulette. So many factors go into each individual cat, and litters can run the whole gambit of colors and personalities. Even with pure bred cats, you are not guaranteed the personality you might want.
Just one litter means that you are "littering" and adding to the over population of the world. The excuse I hear all the time: "But I will find homes for them!!" yes, but those are homes that could be adopting cats already IN the world.. Just one litter often means that three to five more cats die.
Just one litter means a harder life for your cat. Being pregnant drains the body's resources and leaves them vulnerable to health issues. Issues that are transitory like upper respiratory infections and more serious issues that are more likely to occur down the road like mammary cancer.
You want to see witness the miracle of birth? Head over to YouTube, you can find anything and pretty much everything there. Want to be a part of it, volunteer for your local shelter, chances are they will be more than happy to let you foster so you can be a part of the solution and not part of the problem.
You may only see the cuteness and the joy when you think of just one litter.
What I see is all the kitties that didn't get a chance.