My column this week is inspired by two stories I’ve worked on over the past two weeks. The first of those was the Canadian Western Agribition where I had the privilege of speaking with some of Moose Jaw’s more prominent cattle and livestock breeders.
The other is a story I did with the Moose Jaw Humane Society about their overcrowding cat problem. Put the two together and you have the title for this week’s column.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, the humane society is busting at the seams with cats, so much so that it is waiving adoption fees and pleading for cat food donations.
They do the best they can for the animals down there at the shelter, taking upon themselves the responsibilities that others appear to have shirked.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure you reading this and the majority of Moose Javians out there are loving and responsible cat owners. However, like most cities, it would appear that a small majority of us are not.
There are several things that can contribute to cat problems in a community, whether they’re feral strays or abandoned domestics. One of the easiest ways to prevent unwanted felines from entering your house or neighborhoods is to simply have your cat fixed.
This rather simple notion seems to attack the problem at its source: if you don’t plan to become a cat breeder, fix your cat. I know this sounds foolishly simple, but alas, the humane society finds kittens dumped at their doors and all around town.
Over the years, my family has seen one or two surprise litters of kitties, but we took it upon ourselves to deal with the problem, accepting the responsibility of finding homes for some and raising the rest. Am I saying we’re perfect? No, I’m saying it’s possible.
Maybe kittens aren’t the problem. Maybe the cat is no longer a kitten and simply isn’t “fun” or “cute” any more. To this I say “tough luck, boo hoo.” You wanted it, you got it, don’t dump your decisions on someone else. I’ve seen children beg for pets that they swear they will love and care for forever and I’ve seen parents condone the behavior when they no longer have any interest in the once-loved family pet.
If your solution is to pass the buck on to local humane society, are you any better than the child?
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if it was the child who wanted the pet in the first place; it’s the adult who is responsible for it. Unfortunately, there are grown adults out there who shirk the responsibility of things even greater than pets.
I’m probably preaching to the choir reading this, but for the love of doing the right and virtuous thing, fix your pet if you don’t plan on breeding, register and collar your pet with an ID tag so it doesn’t become a stray, and love and care for your pet for its entire life, not just the portion of it that was convenient for you.