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.

18 comments:

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote. Just one litter is one litter too many. I would love it if every kitten born had a promised home. But too many just don't. Not to mention all of the kittens that die somewhere in bushes, forgot corners, ... Like you, when someone says he wants a litter of his own, I tell them the full story, but it is just impossible for some to grasp. If I know a female cat is not fixed, even if it's owned and I can get her, I will have her fixed. I'd rather face the wrath of the owner than the death of a cat or more. The picture... makes my heart aches.

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  2. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote. Just one litter is one litter too many. I would love it if every kitten born had a promised home. But too many just don't. Not to mention all of the kittens that die somewhere in bushes, forgot corners, ... Like you, when someone says he wants a litter of his own, I tell them the full story, but it is just impossible for some to grasp. If I know a female cat is not fixed, even if it's owned and I can get her, I will have her fixed. I'd rather face the wrath of the owner than the death of a cat or more. The picture... makes my heart aches.

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  3. I never considered not having my animals "fixed", I can't imagine not. That picture broke my heart. Sigh. We people are so selfish.

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  4. Nicely said. That photo is heartbreaking. . .but sadly, true. It's so frustrating when I encounter people who don't/won't spay their pets in this day and age.

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  5. Have seen too much ( for my heart to stand) and it is awful and sad and unneeded just how many animals lose their lives due to humans not taking care of them. I won't go into those that don't even bother. Education and resources are a part of the answer, and all of us just doing what we can.

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  6. Excellent post! Spay, neuter, educate!

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  7. 3 words....You're so Right!

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  8. I couldn't agree more. With so many charities / organizations now offering low cost neutering, there really isn't any reason NOT to neuter.

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    1. ITA! We trapped a neighborhood feral one year ago and had her spayed at the local shelter. It was free. Win-win: this cat isn't reproducing and adding to the feral cats in the city.

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  9. Well said. I created 2 Spay Day posters to share, posted at Cat Wisdom 101 today.

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  10. As someone who fosters 30-50 orphaned bottle-feeding kittens a year, I know first hand why EVERY feline should be altered. I'm fortunate that I foster for a shelter who provides all supplies and veterinary care. Then, when they are fixed and ready, they go up for adoption. Most foster "moms" don't have that support. Anyone who allows their pet to breed is part of the problem. For every adorable kitten born there is an adult cat in a shelter who will not get a home. And will likely be euthanized for no good reason. Get 'em snipped, people!

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  11. Paws up for your eloquent post. You are SO right - my human sees red when other humans puke up that "just one litter" line. Trust me, NONE of us kitties wanted to be parents. In fact, my human has no maternal instinct, either and hates being called my "mom," although she politely deals with it when she must. I think you touched on something really important here that I have been fighting the whole time I've been blogging: humans see cats through their own eyes, when they should be turning it around and walking in our paws instead. If they did, we kitties would be hustled off to be spayed and neutered with no questions asked!

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  12. THANK YOU for saying this.....it is everything I think and more. The first momma cat we had last summer died - along with her 6 kittens. As I sat in the parking lot of the emergency vet after kissing Louisa for the last time - knowing I was heading back home to 6 bottle babies (that we fought hard for an eventually lost), I read her paperwork. Come to find out the lady who brought her in had seen her....the previous summer. If this woman had been responsible THEN, Louisa wouldn't have gotten pregnant...she may have lived to have a home of her own.....the shelter wouldn't have had to pay a huge medical bill....and several foster homes wouldn't have had sick kittens that ultimately died and broke our hearts. Do I love being a foster and having kittens around the house? Sure I do....but I would LOVE to be out of business..... (and now I have to go find a tissue)

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  13. I hope I never see such a sight in reality, the picture was hard enough to take. While I can't go out to our Humane Society (I'd bring home every kitten and cat if I could) I do donate regularly through payroll deductions. It gives me some hope that at a least some of the unfortunate animals will a chance at a good life.

    Unfortunately, too many people see cats as disposable and they treat them as such. I'm not sure what it will take, but I suspect seeing this picture might change some minds.

    You have my appreciation every day for the work you do. I know it brings joy, but also heartbreak and the fact you put yourself out there is inspiring. Thank you!

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  14. Mimi fully agrees, and whenever I see her play like a Happy Housecat, instead of being tired and hassled by all the kittens she bore before she came to me, I cry with happiness to see her just have a happy life. I know she feels the same.

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  15. I should share this with my sister. My sister has two (now three, she wanted to keep one kitten), cats, not spayed or neutered cause it's so expensive (they both have a job, she and her boyfriend), and because they wanted a litter. I told her numerous times that there are so many animals already in the shelter because of people like her. She doesn't want to listen, got a litter and is complaining about her cats in heat. It's sad to see, but she doesn't want to listen.

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  16. We totally agree with you. It is horrible what happens to all the cats and kittens that can't find homes. But it is so hard to get the word out about the spaying and neutering to the right people. But this is a great post and hopefully it will help.

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  17. I sure do wish all humans would pay attention and do the right thing!!!

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