Saturday, March 23, 2013
Outdoor kittens, feral or just too much trouble?
A month ago, another friend of mine who has just moved to a small town, discovered a number of outdoor cats that seemed to be feral. One day a fluffy female showed up followed by three or four younger ones. She took pictures and sent them to me. Unlike my first friends Shed Buddies, these ones seem to have no permanent home. Or if they do they don't stay there very often.
This pretty calico or tortoise-shell has herself up a tree. There is a fluffy orange one that I couldn't see in the photographs, but she assures me these cats visit every day. She has been putting out food for any cats that are outside on bitter cold winter nights because she like my other friend has a tender heart,. She worries about them, because while they're not dirty or skinny and seem to be cared for, they are around her place in the most dreadful weather.
Are they feral?
She's been told they belong to a family nearby without much in the way of income. But this is not the first litter of kittens and there are three big tom cats prowling around as well. My friend wants to start a spay and neuter clinic so there won't be any more unwanted or uncared for kittens. She is a real cat lover, and has three that she has adopted over the years, two that were feral kittens, kicked out of a home.
Neither she nor I can understand why people get a pet without accepting or realizing the responsibility in caring for it. Way too many dogs and cats roam the streets of towns, villages and the countryside, abandoned and in many ways hopeless, trying to exist, to find food and shelter.
Many people think that cats can survive on their own and city dwellers are known to take their unwanted kitten to the country and drop it on the road near a barn. Better I suppose than drowning, but still in many ways certain death. Only a long and lingering one.
This is world-wide problem. But it doesn't make it any easier to understand, perhaps it makes it more difficult. Like many people who have multiple pets I don't get this lack of caring. If you have a female cat and it isn't spayed (neutered) it's going to get pregnant if it's outside. That's just a fact. If you have a male cat and it isn't neutered - it's going to increase the population - that's nature.
So while I can't solve this one, I am adding my voice to those who are trying to solve it. Please help the free or nearly free spay and neuter clinics in your area. Mostly they are for feral cats. But some vets understand these problems, and will help people by taking payment for spaying and neutering over a period of time. Please support them. Please also support your cat and dog rescue organizations in your neighbourhood. They take care of the health of so many abandoned and unwanted cats and dogs. They do their best to find them homes. So if you're looking for a pet - please remember another friend of mine's slogan - "Don't breed or buy while shelter pets die." She was writing about kill-shelters.
In the meantime, let's hope these little kittens can survive without reproducing themselves, and that if they have an owner, that owner will take them to prevent more wandering kittens. I wish I had a gazillion dollars I'd be doing some massive education and helping the people who run the free clinics.
Cute kitties aren't they?