What is it going to take for everyone to understand how VITAL it is to spay or neuter their pets-and not only just their pets, but to make CERTAIN that stray, abandoned and feral cats have the same consideration?
In Connecticut, alone, a tiny state, there is estimated to be between 500,000 and 1,000,000 free roaming cats-and the number is growing!
I wish it was enough that each of us be responsible for our own cats, but it's not. Even running a cat rescue, I'm not doing enough. I know right now there are 10 kittens in a shelter in the south that will probably die because I have no space to take them. Every day I get 20 or 30 emails begging for help for adult, hard-to-place cats. This is INSANE and it needs to STOP NOW. WE ALL HAVE TO GET INVOLVED TO CREATE A WORLD WHERE PET OVERPOPULATION IS A THING OF THE PAST OR WE WILL NEVER SEE AN END TO URGENT PLEAS FOR HELP TO SAVE ANOTHER CAT'S LIFE OR CRY WHEN WE FIND OUT ANOTHER ONE DID'T “GET OUT ALIVE.”
There is no excuse to put off sterilizing your cat. If it's over 8 weeks of age or 2 pounds in weight, it can be spayed or neutered. Early age S/N has been done for over 10 years. There's no indication that it causes any health issues and does not stunt growth. I do it to my kittens. I've overseen the procedure being done. The kittens recover MUCH faster than adults and have less pain. There is NO REASON TO ALLOW ANY ANIMAL THAT IS ADOPTED TO LEAVE A SHELTER AND NOT ALREADY BE S/N.
It's NOT expensive. There are low cost S/N clinics all over the country. Want to find one? PetSmart Charities’ programs include a $1 million national grant to fund high-quality, affordable spay/neuter operations and feral cat Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs If you visit their site, you'll see a form to input your zip code. Enter the information and you'll get a list of places where you can get your cat S/N for under $80.00. If you can't afford that fee, call around to your local rescues and ASK for help. They may have resources or offer you a voucher to have it done for FREE. It's easy to find your local rescues and shelters by visiting Petfinder. Do a search for shelters “by state” and you'll get a huge list.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. I love kittens, but without being S/N, we know these four will quickly become 20 or more.
If you feel overwhelmed because you put off getting your cats S/N and they are already having litters, then ASK FOR HELP NOW. The sooner you deal with the problem, the better! You MUST deal with keeping your own cats S/N as a top priority so YOU never have to suffer being inundated by cats you can't afford to provide care for, who can easily overtake your home. You don't want that. We don't want that for you. Reach out. There is help available.
Feeding a friendly stray or feral cat? Then you MUST also do the right thing and get that cat S/N. If you need to trap the cat, your local Animal Control can probably loan you a trap and show you how to set it up. If you're too scared to do that or don't have time, contact your local rescue group. They will know someone who does TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) who can help you, but DO NOT ASSUME they will make your problem go away. They may request that you become the caretaker for that cat, provide it shelter and food for the rest of its' life if it is feral. It's a small price to pay to know you are ensuring there is one less cat who can breed and make your simple problem of one cat, quickly become too many to handle.
©2012 Bobby Stanford. King was born outside with deformed hind legs and survived for a year in dangerous conditions before we rescued him. What kind of life is that for a cat?
Where is the Legislation for MANDATORY S/N?
I honestly have no idea why, since there aren't enough people doing the right thing for their pets, that there aren't strict laws regarding S/N of pets? It's far beyond the point of it needing to be addressed. How many animals have to die before we DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS?
In 2010 I spoke with Dr. Katrin Warren a Vet from Australia who was hosting a show on Animal Planet about cat care. I was stunned when Dr. Warren nonchalantly told me that there was 98% compliance with the Spay/Neuter laws in the country! Why can't WE DO THAT HERE?
I'm going to say something very unpopular-I also think that we have to put a moratorium on breeding cats and dogs until the overpopulation problem is contained. While I find “pure” bred animals to be just as worthy of being adored and getting great homes as any cat, it's just adding to the problem of cat overpopulation to allow cats to breed more cats! Their “pet quality” offspring, deemed unworthy for the show ring are adopted out, compete with shelter cats, who often don't stand a chance, OR they are dumped at shelters or euthanized. Does this make sense to you? I'm not saying no purebeed cats ever, but-I'm saying NO BREEDING CATS FOR ANY REASON UNTIL THE CAT OVERPOPULATION PROBLEM IS WORKED OUT AND THEN ONLY BY BEING MINDFUL ABOUT THE EFFECT BREEDING WILL HAVE WHEN STARTING UP AGAIN. WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT CATS AS A TREASURE-EACH AND EVERY ONE-NOT PUT CERTAIN CATS ABOVE OTHERS IN THE HEIRARCHY AND SAY THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE S/N BECAUSE THEY ARE SOMEHOW BETTER and more worthy of being bred.
The Cat Fanciers Association lists 600 member locations worldwide and 400 cat shows-and that's just CFA members and shows. There are many others not part of CFA. There are 40 pedigreed breeds of cats. It doesn't take long to realize that there are significant numbers of cats being breed, on purpose and to make a buck, that contribute to the problems with cat overpopulation. Their position on cat overpopulation, frankly, is pretty lame. They basically state, they don't want needless euthanasia and urge their breeders to be responsible, but to say: “The responsible breeding of pedigreed cats is of value to society in order preserve the domestic cat breeds and to provide animals with desirable and predictable physical and personality characteristics. Further, our position is that we are opposed to any law or regulation which would prevent the exercise of these activities.”
They're contradicting their own position! They oppose legislation that would impose S/N laws on their breeders even though it would end the “needless euthanasia” they make in their first point. We have to look at the global picture. It's a picture of death to cats-millions of them. I have no problem with having pedigreed cats IF we didn't have rampant overpopulation. It would be fun to go to a cat show under those circumstances. I find when I go to one now, I think about all the cats who are going to die because we agree it's OK for these special cats to keep breeding and adding to the problem. The problem is too big to say breeding of ANY kind is OK; maybe someday, but not now. What is the significance of a “purebred” cat versus a “mixed breed” cat? Thinking you can predict a personality trait through breeding is ridiculous. Take that away and the only reason for breeding is all based on what the cat looks like. That's it. So just because a cat looks a certain way it shouldn't be considered in any S/N legislation? Or worse..we shouldn't have S/N legislation at all?!
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Just a few days old. So perfect. So innocent, yet if it wasn't for me, this kitten and her siblings would have died. She was lucky, but thousands of other kittens never had a chance. There's just no space to take them all so many must die.
I've often wondered if the celebrity “experts” I see on television actually know what they're talking about or if they rely on a bevy of knowledgeable scriptwriters.
Today, I was given the opportunity to answer that question-at least in the case of Dr. Katrina Warren, BVSc (that's Australian for: Bachelor of Veterinary Science)-the smart and beautiful Celebu-Vet who comes to the aid of two cat-loving families during each episode of her show: Cat Chow's® Housecat Housecall®, which has just began airing it's Third Season on Animal Planet® on June 5th.
Dr. Warren, along with her associates, Dr. Karen Sueda and Dr. Rich Goldstein, help families understand how to create a better environment for their cats or help them solve curious cat behavior issues. (subliminal message to Dr. Katrina: HELP! PLEASE COME TO MY HOUSE! I NEED HELP!)
Dr. Katrina Warren, courtesy of Purina® Cat Chow® & Animal Planet®.
I was graciously granted a phone interview with Dr. Warren from her home in Australia. Did I want to skip my questions about the Third Season of her show and ask her about living in Australia or if she knows Nicole Kidman? YES! Did I want to know if she would invite me to come visit her or better yet, could she come to my house and SAVE ME FROM MY EIGHT ANNOYING CATS WHO REFUSED TO LET ME SLEEP BECAUSE THEY WERE HUNGRY, SO THEY WOKE ME UP AT 5:00 AM?
But I'm a professional, so I asked a few, more appropriate questions, but I really wanted some dirt. (Okay, I wanted to ask how she could marry someone named: “Mr. Darcy” in 2006 and not live happily ever after with him? Sadly, the marriage did not last beyond two years. Also, how could you NOT want to STAY married to a lovely person WHO IS A VET??? Come on!!)
During our interview, we discussed the upcoming season of Cat Chow's, Housecat Housecalls (try to say that on the air, by the way-what a tongue twister!). We also discussed proper nutrition (you KNEW I would have to go there, but I did so delicately, at least, this time), we also talked about how to handle the death of a pet, weird pet behaviors (stealing clothing) and how we can all do our part to help Dr. Warren in her quest for cats to live better lives.
If you don't get a chance to listen to the interview, there are two things you should know:
1. Dr Warren is delightful. She knows what she's talking about and is willing to open up to discuss any aspect of cat health or behavior. Of course, she loves dogs, too and it broke my heart to find out she still mourns over the death, at age 14, of her beloved dog, Toby, who passed away in January of this year. Our condolences on your loss!
2. This is so surprising and fantastic and terrible (because we can't say that about the USA)...AUSTRALIA HAS A 98% COMPLIANCE TO SPAY/NEUTER THEIR ANIMALS. Dr. Warren said it was almost unheard of for people to have kittens to give away. While we didn't have time to discuss how they handle “Bush-cats” (Feral), the idea that an entire country can get behind Spay/Neuter makes my heart swell. We MUST achieve a goal like that here in the USA!
If you'd like to hear our chat, feel free to listen to the audio, below. Keep in mind it was 8 AM EST here and 10PM for Dr. Warren. That we could have a conversation that made any sense at either of those times is just shy of amazing.
A BIG “Thank You” to Dr. Katrina Warren, for her time and expertise. It was a pleasure speaking with her. Cat Chow’s, Housecat Housecall will air Saturdays at 10:30am E/P and Sundays at 8am E/P this summer on Animal Planet.
(another subliminal message to Dr. Katrina: HELP! PLEASE COME TO MY HOUSE! MY CATS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY! MR. DARCY...HIS LOSS!)