Lets start out with some back story
Yesterday I received a disturbing email from my friend Twitch, who recently adopted-out a litter of five kittens, the offspring of her two cats, Meezer and Minnie.
The Family: photo courtesy of Twitch
Although Twitch was relieved to no longer have a five cat household, she seemed to have mixed emotions about sending them off to their new homes. She did, however, keep Bearface, one of the five kittens who my boyfriend proudly shares a name with.
Bearface: photo courtesy of Twitch
Yesterday Jacquie was on the Saskatoon SPCA's website and thought she recognized a kitten from her litter, Fat Kink, in the photos of cats for adoption. She called the SPCA and asked them to check if the kitten had a kink in it's tail. She was told that it didn't. She was sure this kitten was Fat Kink so she decided to go down to the SPCA herself with the intent to bring the kitten home if it were a positive ID.
When she arrived at the SPCA, she was told that the kitten has been euthanized on July 24th due to an upper respiratory infection.
The more we talked to this woman about the time line, it became clear that the kitten developed the URI more than 12 days after she had been picked up by animal control, which means she contracted that infection INSIDE the SPCA. Then, after 2 days of sniffles and sneezing, they KILLED her. Bearface took at least 3 days to get to her worst point and turn around. Any vet worth their weight in kitten fur should've known that it would take at least that long to see what was going to happen. Let me repeat: It wasn't even bad enough to need MEDICATION yet. They picked up a kitten, let it rot in their disgusting pound and then just f!cking killed this cat because they couldn't be bothered.
Fat Kink: photo courtesy of Twitch
Rest in peace, little Fat Kink.
You were little
But you had a fat kink
You were a buddy
But a human was a dink
Now you're in a better place
Now you're up there
Yes, kitty, way up there
So fly, Fat Kink, fly free
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Mahatma Gandhi
My anger towards Kitty Auschwitz
This scenario of kittens being euthanized at the Saskatoon SPCA due to an "upper respiratory infection" is nothing new to me, and I mentioned my own personal experience in the email I just sent to the Saskatoon SPCA's Director and Adoptions department.
Right click on the screen print below and click "view image".
I understand that the SPCA isn't necessarily the big bad wolf here. They serve their purpose. They intervene when animals are being abused. And, of course, dropping animals off at an SPCA is a much better alternative than some other methods of disposal, like dropping animals off at the dump. The real issue is irresponsible pet ownership, and if irresponsible pet ownership wasn't such a commonality, then SPCAs such as the Saskatoon SPCA would probably not euthanize at all. However, I still believe something is terribly wrong with trigger happy "kill shelters", like the Saskatoon SPCA referring to themselves as a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Sure, these animals might survive long enough for someone to bust them out, but if the Animal Jew corrals become overpopulated, or if they have an ailment, or get sick within the concentration camp, which they most likely will, they will be taken to the kill room and euthanized.
Ironically, this is the place where the majority of people feel "morally at peace" dropping off animals they no longer want. However, there are a number of astronomically more positive alternatives to "kill SPCAs".
How to be mindful when dealing with unwanted animals
1) Find out if your local SPCA is a "kill" SPCA or a "no-kill" SPCA. The Fort McMurray SPCA is one example of a bitchin' "no kill" shelter. Our local SPCA here in Red Deer does euthanize, albeit minimally, and it seems as though they have made great strides over the years, which you can read about here. However, there are other shelters out there that are seemingly horrific, like the Toronto Humane Society. Bottom line, know your local SPCA: know who they are and the realities behind the services you are utilizing.
2) Is it possible to take initiative and find a good home for the animal yourself? Do you personally know someone who would be interested in offering the animal a good home? Do you know of a farm that would take the animal? What about advertising and seeing if someone would be interested in adopting?
- I know that Twitch is experiencing pangs of regret about the woman who took Fat Kink from her, so if you do decide to advertise to the public, have your spidey senses up in regards to those showing interest in adopting the animal and follow your gut. I don't think there is anything wrong with asking some basic questions regarding their lifestyle and sense of character. As someone who has gone through certified breeders, I know first hand this is something that reputable breeders always do with potential customers, and only because they care about their animals and don't want them to suffer unnecessarily. As an animal lover, this kind of care is something that I look for in breeders, as well. Just because an animal isn't a purebred or doesn't cost a ridiculous amount of money doesn't mean that it is not equally as valuable. It is a living being. If your gut tells you to turn someone away, do it.
Also, will the original owner or the breeder take the animal back to find a more suitable home? Many will, like Twitch. Most certified breeders urge people to do this if the adoption doesn't work out and will offer full monetary refunds.
3) Most importantly, there are a number of really great, "no kill", grassroots organizations run by people who sincerely care about healing animals and finding them "forever homes". For the love of God, please at least attempt to utilize these services, and if animals are important to you, support these organizations through word of mouth, donations, or volunteer efforts.
Since I've been discussing the Saskatoon SPCA, a few "no kill" alternatives in Saskatoon are:
Central Alberta has a number of great organizations that are fighting for the well being of domestic animals:
And one of my personal favorites,
Things to consider before adopting a pet (to avoid being a douche bag):
1) A dog or cat should be perceived as an unexpendable member of the family. If you perceive animals to be solely a source of entertainment, something to make you feel yummy inside, or a cute accessory to have around the house, do not adopt a pet. Pets, especially young pets, will sometimes wreck your things, will demand attention when you're tired, and will require you to clean up their shit and barf. They also cost money and will need things like training, medical care, patience, and human affection.
"If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans." - James Herriot
2) Dogs and cats do have minds and hearts and it is possible to permanently damage those minds and hearts. They are not just empty shells willing to please. I have known many domestic animals that developed "issues" due to human mistreatment. The most common issue I've seen in animals is abandonment issues. If it seems funny to you that an animal could develop abandonment issues, then don't get a pet.
"The dog represents all that is best in man." - Etienne Charlet
3) It is not necessarily true that animals will love you unconditionally. What people really mean by that statement is that animals don't have the mental capacity to judge you for being a douche bag. They will, however, give you what you give them. If you ignore, deny, disregard, mistreat, or abuse a pet, they will treat you as a source of their survival, not someone they love and adore, and may ultimately fear and avoid you. The bond will simply not develop.
"The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too." - Samuel Butler
4) Lastly, do you have the financial resources or the time to maintain the well being of an animal? Do you live in an animal friendly home? If you had to move into a rental, would you put the effort into finding a place that allows pets, or would you choose a nice place over a pet and dispose of it?
Unfortunately it is incredibly difficult to find rentals that are pet friendly and this seems to be a reason why many people surrender their animals to shelters. For the sake of the animal, please consider this before adopting.
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." - Anatole France
The love of a cat or dog can be immeasurably fulfilling. If you show a cat or dog affection, care, and patience; if you treat an animal as a being with a soul, personality, and heart; if you talk to an animal, encourage it, and guide it, you will receive an invaluable amount of love in return. They will be your laughter on mundane days, they will communicate back with their chatter, eyes, and expressions, they will watch over you as you recover from the flu and may even stick their nose in your neck while you cry, like my much beloved childhood kitty, Chub Chub. They will teach you humility, patience, and the value of a connection based on nothing but pure soul. Their well being depends on our care and respect, and I think we owe them that much.
People who care
When I adopted my kitten, Gloria, who ended up staying with me at my parents acreage in 2005 and has since become a permanent member of their household, I bought her from a lady who lived down the street from me in Saskatoon. When I was at her house looking at the kittens, another woman was there looking at the kittens, as well, and as she situated Gloria in different positions on the rug to see how she "looked" among the furnishings, my heart sank and I could feel the owner's heart sink, too. "That one," I said, "I want that one." At that moment, Gloria had become my kitty.
Cat Decor woman was visibly disappointed.
The owner was extremely sad to see Gloria go. She gave her hugs and kisses and I promised to give her a good life. I told the lady to give me her email address so I could touch base with her in the future and let her know how the kitten was doing. It wasn't until a few years later while I did some spring cleaning when I came across her email address and sent an update. I told her about Gloria's personality, the type of life she was living, and her relationship with the other cats in the house. I included some photos of her, too.
Not long after, she emailed me back and thanked me with much gratitude for letting her know how Gloria was doing. What touched me the most was what she told me her thirteen year old son had said when he read the email, which was that it "renewed his faith in the human race."
A thirteen year old kid.
There are good hearted and deeply caring people out there. There are. Sometimes they're just hard to see through the haze. Hang in there, Twitch.
Responsibility. Respect. Care. Mindfulness.
"No heaven will not ever Heaven be;
Unless my cats are there to welcome me." - Anonymous