I have a friend who’s at least as crazy about cats as I am. When she comes to visit we tell the cats that their favorite cat toy is about to arrive. Recently she and her housemate have had a visitor under their stoop–a starving mama cat with two kittens. Being a responsible cat-person, she wasn’t terribly happy about the idea of this underfed unfixed cat roaming the neighborhood repeatedly having litters of kittens who will then also go on to be underfed unfixed cats roaming the neighborhood. So, she set out to win mama over and take her and her kittens in, finding a no-kill shelter to find them homes. She was finally able to accomplish that task. There was another surprise in store for her, however. She and her housemate took the family to the vet’s this morning, and mama may already be pregnant again! Yikes!
I really wish more pet owners would be responsible with their charges. When you take an animal in, you’re taking responsibility for it. It’s your responsibility to keep it safe and well-fed. It’s your responsibility to see that she doesn’t have kittens all over the place that end up on the street–getting a pet spayed or neutered isn’t that expensive, and there are programs to help you pay for it if you don’t have much money.
So many people take in a cat, dog, or other animal as a passing interest or without really understanding what it means to hold a life in your hands. Animals need proper food and grooming. They get sick or injured and need to be taken to the doctor. They can’t understand what you say to them, so you need to make an effort to understand them and provide an environment in which they can behave and be happy.
We want pets because pets help to make us happy. Don’t we owe it to them to return the favor and take care of their needs as well?