Thursday's Child ... has far to go ... (0nm10wn2feet) wrote,
Thursday's Child ... has far to go ...

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Pondering a late-night rant ...

I'm glad hardly anyone reads any of this shit. It makes it easier for me to vent when it becomes necessary. Tonight, I started (yeah, off the wall again) pondering young pet owners and the rather dubious benefits of such. Especially where it concerns cats. I've had cats my entire life, as far back as I can remember. I'm on my own third and fourth cats right now ... both of whom found me rather than vice versa.

"Minkie" (formally Emperor Manximillian) is a Manx, a breed of tailless cat used on the Isle of Man for hunting. His back legs resemble those of a rabbit ... he can jump almost 5 feet off the ground, straight UP (especially when startled). He's the black and white cat I sometimes use as my user pic. Minkie "found" us about 8 or 9 years ago, when we were remodeling our house. Our first two cats, the ones we had from the time we were married, were getting old and frail (at 13, they DO start to go downhill fast-but Mussa hung on till 14 and Black Cat finally went to his rest at 16). I didn't especially want to keep this loud-mouthed, fur-bearing MONSTER, with feet like a horse's hooves. Once I fed him and he started throwing up coffee grounds and pieces of leather, though, I decided we could give him a MUCH better shot at life than whoever had his evil-tempered ass before. So, off to the vet and his little 'operation.'

And, as many Manx are prone to be, he IS an evil-tempered cuss. VERY particular about who does what with him and likes nothing better than to jump on the counter stool and attack when your back is turned. He purrs so loudly when he's in the process of trying to claw or bite one that one might think there's something seriously wrong with the cat's brain. He fits right in here, though!

My other 'adoptee' is George ... a female part tiger, part long-hair tabby with a ragged ear and a skittish disposition. Poor George was startled by something this evening and bolted from under the dining room table, straight into the nest of cables connecting my computer, monitor, keyboard and printer. After she untangled herself, she streaked to the safety of under my bed. George found her way into our barn one winter as a very small kitten, after something apparently tried to eat her or something like that. She's missing a chunk from one ear, but is otherwise in pretty good shape for having such a dismal start. She was so terrified of people, she hid in the hay and meowed, but would only come out to eat after everyone was gone.

It took me two weeks of feeding her and coaxing to get her to even poke her head out of the hay with me there. It took another week for her to allow me to pet her. After that, I think I got adopted and became MOM. She would always disappear into the hay when I would open the barn door and would NOT come out if anyone else was with me. It took almost two months for anyone else in the family to make friends with her - and the first one was Brad, wouldn't you know it? Anyway, I did my best to make sure she was warm and had plenty of food and fresh water in the barn. Hungry cats DO NOT make good 'mousers.' They don't have the patience to wait for the right time to jump their prey. Unfortunately, I couldn't hold George long enough to tell if she was a HE or a SHE ... and by the time I could, it was too late.

One weekend, I saw lots of other cat tracks around the barn, as well as signs that George had dug her way out under the barn door. A couple weeks later, she started looking like she had swallowed an orange. The orange quickly started looking like a grapefruit and I was seriously concerned about the chances that she would even be able to give birth, as small as she was. I took her to the vet and, sure enough, she wasn't developed enough to bear kittens, but she had four of them growing like weeds while she got scrawnier. I don't like things like this, but I had the vet do a "kitty abortion." There was no way George was going to be able to nurse four kittens. There was no way I was going to be able to nurse George back to health AND bottle feed four kittens. What on earth possessed an animal that was, essentially, still a baby itself, to want to breed so badly that she DUG her way out of the barn?

The answer is that animals have an inborn, STRONG urge to procreate, many times STRONGER than humans. To keep them in reproductive health and DENY them their urges is to make them horribly unhappy. To indiscriminately breed cats and dogs just because it's "natural" is equally unkind. There are so many unwanted cats and dogs all over the world ... unspeakable horrors await those born on the streets and in the back alleys. Thus, the kindest, most HUMANE thing one can do for a beloved pet is to have them spayed or neutered when they are young - before that urge to reproduce affects them. It puzzles, shocks and angers me whenever I hear of someone REFUSING to spay or neuter a pet because it's "not natural." What's not "natural" is to have a pet that is prevented from reproducing as their "natural" instinct tells them.

It should be a prerequisite for ALL pet owners, especially kids just moving away from home, to have their pets spayed or neutered unless they are valuable breeding stock. Everytime I hear of a kid having trouble with an animal in heat, I can't help but shake my head and wonder what sort of advice the poor sod got and from whom. Our domestic pets are FAR happier (a clinically and scientifically proven FACT) when they aren't burdened by that "natural" drive. For them, there is NOTHING "natural" about being kept indoors and prevented from satisfying that drive. For some silly human to presume to know otherwise boggles my mind.

The point? For the sake of your animals, PLEASE, anyone reading this should have them spayed or neutered - unless, as I said, they are valuable breeding stock. We would have FAR fewer "throw-away" cats and dogs, FAR fewer cases of animal abuse and neglect, and FAR happier and healthier pets.

[Thanks so much for your patience while I got that off my chest!]

[BTW, "George's" name came from an old Bugs Bunny cartoon, in which a slow-witted character wants a furry critter so he can "kiss him and hug him and call him GEORGE." I was hoping George was a male!]
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