Thursday, June 28, 2012

People are assholes. Also, please spay and neuter your pets.

I’ve been trying to find homes for the kittens that were dumped on our land back in April, but have had very little luck. We’ve adopted out just ONE of the five, so we still have Mama Cat and four babies. It’s much easier to adopt out little kittens than full grown cats, and unfortunately our remaining four – at roughly four months of age – are getting pretty grown up looking. They’re probably going to be remaining with us.

There’s a local facebook group for buying/selling/giving away/getting pets. I joined it simply so that I could have another place to post pictures of my kittens. I’m certainly not the only person on there hawking free fuzzy felines – and quite a few people prefaced their posts with comments like “my mama cat done had another litter.” Dude. Spay your mama cat. Like yesterday.

There are also TONS of people who use this group to sell their “purebreds” – I put that in quotes, because a good half of those listed don’t come with papers, and many that do are CKC registered. Not that papers – especially CKC papers – are worth all that much, as plenty of exposés have shown that many "registries" will register ANYTHING as long as you've got the cash. What’s the point of a “purebred” dog anyway? OK, if you’re planning on showing it, I can understand. If you’re looking for a dog bred for particular traits (ie, border collie) because you require a dog that has those traits (ie, you need a dog to herd your sheep), I can understand. If it’s just going to live in your backyard or sleep on your bed, is your “purebred” black lab really going to be a better dog than the average black lab mix down at your local pound?

I shared the following graphic on the group after reading about one too many litters of kittens and purebreds lacking papers:


And this was the only response I got:


That is so wrong in so many different ways, I don’t even know where to begin.

Meanwhile, there was another fellow who was a member of this facebook group, who would post comments periodically to the effect that if people would get their pets spayed and neutered, there wouldn’t be all these pets being advertised, and our local animal control wouldn’t be over run.

Group members began discussing how they should complain to the group admin and see about getting him banned. Yeah.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… Back in April, my mother contacted a local well driller (who happens to live fairly close to our land) regarding drilling her a shallow well. He said yeah, sure, he’d do it. And we waited, and waited, and waited. By May, my mom was calling him daily, leaving messages on his machine and with his wife, and we would stop by his house and his shop on our way to or from our land. He was constantly full of excuses for why he hadn’t gotten out there yet. Finally, by late May, we had a well drilled. But just that – a pipe in the ground with no pump, tank, or plumbing connecting it to the house. But not to worry – he was going to do that, too! In fact, he had the pump and the tank, he just… had a bunch of excuses as to why he couldn’t get to it right away. Well, our 1906 bungalow didn’t have plumbing in May, so it wasn’t really urgent. However, by late June, the plumbing was almost completely finished (the bathroom sink has to be moved because it was installed in the wrong place, but other than that, kitchen and bathroom plumbing are installed and ready for water).

We still have no pump or tank, so yesterday we stopped by the fellow’s shop to see what was up. Apparently back in May the well had collapsed. He needed a special tool to fix it, but he didn’t have that tool. He had called a person he knew who had one, but they’d never gotten back to him. But hey, if we wanted a much more expensive deep well, he had the tools to do that. Oh, and his mama cat had kittens, and he was going to shoot them.

What. The. Fuck.

Apparently, someone had dumped some stray cats out by his house. We’re certainly no stranger to that phenomenon, but at least when that happens to us, we take responsibility for the critters to make sure they don’t reproduce. Well, he figured they weren’t his cats, so it wasn’t his problem. But now there are too many of them, so he’s going to have to shoot them.

Dammit if we didn’t say we’d take them. I mean, you can’t shoot kittens. Of course, they’re feral, so they’ll have to be trapped (and they’ll probably be totally unadoptable), and we don’t have them yet. We’ll have to see if he traps them like he said he would, or if he just shoots them.

I tried to negotiate for a bargain on the well in exchange for relieving him of his cat problem. No dice. Why would he do that when he could shoot them for free?

What an ass.

People! Don’t be assholes! Spay and neuter your pets! I’ve compiled a list of myths and facts about spaying and neutering (based off of information from the Humane Society and the Pet Adoption League, and have placed them below. Please give them a read, and spay and neuter!

In addition, I’ve made an informative facebook “cover” (for those of you with the timeline feature), which contains information on why spaying and neutering is important. The small-sized version is below. The full-sized version (which is the correct dimensions for a facbook cover) can be downloaded by clicking here. Please feel free to use this as your facebook cover and help EDUCATE people on the need to spay and neuter.


Myth: A female dog/cat should have one litter of puppies/kittens before being spayed in order to prevent health problems.
Fact: There is NO medical evidence to support this. In fact, females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier than those that are spayed later in life. Spaying a female dog or cat at a young age can help to reduce the risks of pyometra (a potentially fatal infection of the uterus) and breast cancer (yes, cats and dogs can get breast cancer).

Myth: Children should experience the miracle of birth.
Fact: OMFG. I heard people tell me this as they brought in litters of kittens back when I worked at the pound. They couldn’t find homes for their little miracles of birth, so they brought them to us… but apparently they weren’t interested in showing their children the miracle of death. (At the time I worked at this particular pound, it was a high-kill shelter run by someone who did not like cats; I’d say roughly 95% of cats/kittens that were brought in were euthanized within a week.) If you want to teach your children about the miracle of birth, you should also teach them about the miracle of responsibility – or be prepared to teach them the hard lessons of what happens if you drop them at the local pound.

Myth: If I spay/neuter my pet, it will become fat and lazy.
Fact: Pets get fat and lazy for the same reason people do: too much food and not enough exercise. If you feed your pet the correct amount of food and give it plenty of exercise, it will stay lean and full of energy. Keep in mind, however, that the metabolisms of all animals slow with age, so your ten year old dog will not be as active as your six month old puppy, whether it’s been fixed or not.

Myth: It’s not natural.
Fact: Domesticated dogs and cats aren’t “natural” either. Neither are laser eye surgery, heart transplants, blood transfusions, plastic surgery, hair dye… Additionally, dogs and cats are incapable of having a sexual identity. Just because you’d feel like less of a man/woman if you were “fixed” does not mean your dog/cat will. Dogs and cats do not suffer any sort of emotional reaction to being spayed/neutered.

Myth: My pet lives inside, so I don’t need to get it fixed.
Fact: Male dogs that are fixed before puberty won’t lift their leg and pee on your furniture. Male cats that are fixed before puberty won’t get in the habit of spraying (on your furniture!) to mark their territory. It is easier to break pets of these habits if they have been neutered. Female dogs that are not fixed have a “period” just like human females, which can be very messy; spayed female dogs do not menstruate. Female cats in heat can be incredibly annoying. They meow incessantly while in heat, and will often pee/poop outside of the litter box. Spayed female cats do not have this problem. It is easier on both the animal and its owner to have your pets fixed! And besides… your animal only has to escape once in order to mate.

Myth: I’ll find good homes for the puppies/kittens my pet has.
Fact: Really? Have you ever tried finding homes for pets – much less *good* homes? It is very, very difficult to find people who are both willing to take in a puppy or kitten and who are willing to provide it with a good home. We’ve been trying since April (when the Mama and her five kittens were dumped at our land) to find homes for five adorable, friendly, and playful kittens… and so far we’ve found a home for ONE.

Myth: I have a boy dog/cat, so I don’t need to get him fixed.
Fact: Aside from the hormonal problems of leg lifting in male dogs and spraying in male cats, how do you think female dogs and cats get pregnant? It ain’t immaculate conception, folks.

Myth: My cat/dog (or cat/dog that was dumped at my house) is pregnant, so I have no choice.
Fact: Just like humans, a pregnant cat/dog can be aborted. The vet performs the spaying procedure and abortion simultaneously.

Myth: It’s too expensive to get my pet spayed/neutered.
Fact: There are plenty of low-cost spay/neuter facilities across the US, although if you live in a rural area you may have to drive a ways to reach one. Trust me, it’s worth the drive to a low-cost clinic or the cost of doing it at your local vet if you can avoid the cost of vet care and food for puppies/kittens! This tool from the HSUS can help you locate your nearest low-cost spay/neuter clinic. You might also try asking your local vet if he/she has any state vouchers for low cost spay/neuter surgeries. Many states have these programs, but you usually have to ask the vet about it. (Vouchers are limited, so it’s generally not something clinics advertise.)

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