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Local Columns

December 3, 2011

Stringer column: Cats, kittens keep on coming

We are full of cats. We get excited when we adopt two or three in a day then, that same day, 10 or more will come in.

It’s the end of November and we are still getting kittens. We can never get ahead. Cats tend to not do well in shelter situations.

It is too stressful for them to live in a cage with little human contact and the ability to run and play, or sleep in the window or on a couch. As they become more and more stressed and sad, their immune systems weaken and they become susceptible to illness. Even with medication these cats get sick and often cannot be saved.

When you walk in the cattery you are met with all these little eyes tracking your every move. They are peering through the cage doors with their legs stretched out so they can try and snag you as you walk by. Sometimes that’s what gets them adopted. They watch, they cry and they wait.

Every shelter is full of cats. Cats multiply quickly and often they are babies themselves when they start having kittens. And almost everyone thinks kittens are cute, it’s one thing to have five little kittens running around. Its quite another to have five full grown cats. And everyone who brings us kittens thinks that theirs are so cute and we won’t have one bit of trouble finding them a home.

More often than not when people bring us kittens they are sick. So sick that even in foster homes where people do everything they can to save them, they die. This is why it is so important to get your cats spayed and neutered. And to not let them roam.

Just because your cat is a male and can’t have the babies, if you let him roam, he will certainly make them. Over and over again. It doesn’t take but a few months and a couple of cats who are not spayed/neutered to have a problem. And the longer you wait to spay and neuter, the worse the problem gets and it becomes often impossible to get it under control. It is much easier on the wallet to spay/neuter the first two cats before they start having babies than to try and afford the 30 cats they can produce in a season.

We have owners turn in cats who are spayed/neutered and declawed on all four paws. We have a multitude of full-breed cats along with every other cat imaginable. They turn them in for a variety of reasons: because they are moving, are allergic, the cats are old or not affectionate or too affectionate, or not getting along with the dog or the new baby or are tearing up the furniture or simply because they don’t want them anymore. It has become too easy to use shelters as the receptacles of our society’s irresponsibility.

If you cannot commit to take care of an animal for the entirety of its life then reconsider getting the animal. Please act responsibly; spay/neuter your pets and don’t let them roam.

Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at maleahstringer@aol.com.

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