Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cats who are Not Spayed Should Not Go Outside

If you spend any time on Yahoo! Answers, or throughout the Internet in forums on pets, you will often encounter people freaking out as they should do in regard to their cat who is about to have kittens, or who just has had kittens, and so forth.

As a person who is well aware of the statistics regarding cat overpopulation these people frighten me. Don't get me wrong, I love kittens, they are super cute, but I am disgusted at the number of people who let their cats breed with little regard to the fact that in the United States alone over 3 million more cats are born than there will be homes for and those cats will be euthanized in shelters. Not to mention the untold others killed by owners who do not know what to do with them, or tossed out, abandoned to become feral or die.

Very simply I would love to yell “Spay your Cat!”. People seem to come up with all kinds of excuses as to why they did not spay their cat, the most feeble being “I was going to spay her but she was pregnant.”. This is a horrid excuse since a cat who was not spayed should not have been allowed outside in the first place. Other people actually use the fact that the cat was in heat as an excuse for letting her get pregnant “She was so annoying, I had to put her outside.”.

Some pet owners seriously horrify me.

There is really no excuse for letting a cat get pregnant. Domestic cats are not an endangered species, there is no reason to make more. Her own health is at risk simply by being allowed to breed – she risks getting a cat STD (sexually transmitted disease), the pregnancy itself could have complications (perhaps requiring a cesarean section to save her life), and if she is young, old, or in poor health, her life could be at risk in general.

As a person who has worked at an animal shelter, and seen week old, three week old, eight week old, and so on, kittens being euthanized by the bag full, I beg all cat owners to think harder about spaying their cat. If for some moral, or financial reason you opt not to spay your cat, at least keep her indoors. The reality is that for every kitten born there are more that will not find homes, if your cat's kittens find homes somebody else's cat's kittens will not.

There are just not enough homes for all the kittens, deal with it!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Come On Pet Owners, How Poor Are you Really?

Often I encounter a pet owner pleading online for help with their sick, injured, or dying, pet. They always seem to have the line “I cannot afford to take it to a vet, please help”. I roll my eyes nearly every time I see this, my typical response is “If you can afford a computer and Internet service, you should be able to afford to take your pet to the veterinarian.”. Yet when you say this to somebody their typical response is something like “I am on my cell phone!”. To me there is no difference, if you can afford a computer and Internet, or a cell phone, you darn well can afford to take your pet to the vet.

Veterinarian care is expensive, no doubt about it, but so are many things, coffee, shoes, car payments, and a lot of other things that really are luxuries not necessities.

Lower income people who want to have pets need to understand that sometimes pet ownership means making a sacrifice on other things in order to put money away for emergency vet care. And believe me I was there once myself (lower income I mean).

I worked part time for minimum wage raising a kid as a single parent, paying a mortgage and so forth, even with the widows pension I got (my first husband had passed away) I was still living on less than a welfare mom with one kid. I made sacrifices and lived frugally. I had no cable, no Internet, no cell phone, so ya, it does piss me off when some jerk driving a $15,000 new car bitches about not being able to afford vet care for their pet.

At least get your pet to the veterinarian so you know what is wrong, how bad it is, and how much it will cost, before you rush around taking advice from strangers on the Internet who may not know what they are talking about.

Owning a pet should be a serious commitment, that animal's life and health are your responsibility. If it dies because you were too cheap to sacrifice a cup of coffee, or could not live without a cell phone, it is your fault.

Don't be going online looking for free veterinarian help, complaining you are poor when you have 20 pairs of shoes in your closet and case of beer in the fridge. That ain't poverty.

I should add that I sympathetic when a person cannot pay expensive treatment costs, as these costs can get into thousands of dollars, but I have little sympathy for the person who gets a puppy then complains two weeks later when it is sick that they cannot afford to take it to the vet, what on earth were they doing getting a puppy in the first place? My sympathies are with the pup.

The same thing for the person who breeds there dog then finds themselves in an emergency situation requiring a caesarian section, a common risk in breeding some dogs, and complains they cannot afford it – again, then why did they bred their dog?

For the lower income people there are many cheap pets, or simply do as I did (I use to work part time for minimum wage only but always had money for my pet's needs), live frugally and below your means, and if you cannot do that – do not get a pet.

There is also no excuse for not spaying or neutering a cat or dog, if this is a financial concern you think you cannot make, adopt one that has already been fixed rather than taking one that still requires this somewhat expensive surgery – also note it is cheaper to fix male animals than females.

I could go on and on, the point is most people have money to spend on their pets, but have chosen to spend it on other things instead.   To those complaining that they cannot afford vet care for their pet, I ask "How much is your cell phone bill?".  Your pet is a financial commitment, deal with it!