Felix is a little 1-year-old buff-and-white cat that we've had most of his life. Felix came to us in January and has been at Petsmart since March. Everyone agreed that he was a nice little guy, but there had been little interest in giving him a home. Suddenly little Felix had two families interested in him. He went home with his people and the other folks who wanted him are picking out another cat. Felix is a lucky boy. Many of his other feline friends at the Animal Protection League are not so lucky.
Since the beginning of June we have taken in more than 460 cats and kittens. There have been times that we have taken in 25 in one day. This is in addition to the 40 in the cat sanctuary and the 100 in the shelter and all the cats and kittens in foster. To put it mildly we are overwhelmed with cats. Cats of all ages. We have cats at Petsmart, Specks in Fishers, the Correctional Industrial Facility, Seedy Sallys and Devonshire Veterinary Clinic.
People allow their cats to roam outside when they are not spayed/neutered and then bring the result of their irresponsibility to shelters and expect us to care for them and find them homes. There are too many cats and not enough homes. Many of the cats coming to us this year are in horrible condition. Some are covered in fleas — anemic, emaciated, dehydrated and terribly sick.
Unfortunately most of these cats are living in cages; waiting, bored, waiting for someone to save them. People come into the cat room and you see paws sneaking out of the cages swiping at people as they walk by. As if they are screaming — hey!! Pick ME. I'm right HERE!
The solution to this heartbreaking problem is very simple. Get your pets spayed/neutered and we will not have this overwhelming number of cats that no one wants or claims. If money is an issue there are options: low-cost spay/neuter clinics, organizations that provide assistance, spay/neuter vouchers from Spay/Neuter of Indiana. If you need help ask; if you cannot afford a pet then do not get one or wait until you can afford to be a responsible pet owner. Your pets are your responsibility, not the city of Anderson, not the Animal Protection League, Madison County Humane Society or Friends for Paws. Yours.
Animals ask so little of us and yet they provide us so much pleasure. Unconditional love regardless — joy, companionship when no one else is there, they listen to us without interrupting — they see the best in us. They deserve so much more from humans than to be dropped off at shelters, or left in abandoned homes, or dumped in the county, or chained outside to live their lives alone and confined.
We are starting a Spay/Neuter fund that people can donate to in order to help folks be responsible pet owners. You can send checks to the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson, IN 46016 or go online at www.inapl.org. People receiving this service will be asked to pay what they can afford or to donate five hours helping the homeless animals at the Animal Protection League. Make sure you stipulate that this money is to go to the spay/neuter fund.
Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.