It strikes me that the heading of this post would make a great title for some modern poem, but today I’m on a serious rant.
To Whom It May Concern:
BEFORE YOU GET A PET, PLEASE CONSIDER…
You or someone in your household may be allergic. Borrow one for a week or so before you commit yourself to a long-term situation.
You or someone in your household may not like noise, floating pet hair, or have time to care for a pet. Borrow one for a couple of weeks, or get a month’s money-back guarantee. I’ve seen so many people advertising a pet to give away because “It’s lonely by itself all day” and/or “I just don’t have time for it.”
Don’t count on the promises of children under twelve. When they want something they’ll promise you the moon plus perpetual care. But they have short attention spans; forever is only until next week when they don’t feel like walking the dog. One lady was giving away their pup because “my son is into video games now and has no time to play with it anymore.” (The poor dog! I’d say “Unplug the computer.”) If YOU, the parent, aren’t prepared to give the pet the care it needs now – and then later when your kids head off to college – please don’t cave.
A new baby may come into your house. Goodness knows how many newlyweds get a cute little kitten, then after a couple of years have a baby. Right away they want to get rid of the cat for fear it might hurt the baby. (Very slim possibility but someone’s aunt will always tell you of her cousin’s friend whose cat laid on a baby in a crib and suffocated it.)
You may move in the near future and find yourself facing a new lease that says NO PETS. Have a backup plan. I.e., if we move and can’t take Fido, Uncle Keith will take him and give him a good home. This is especially true of exotic pets; they have become big trouble in some areas, becoming invasive species and messing up the local ecology.
Some people have the idea that it’s okay to flush fish when they don’t want them anymore. This is so cruel; the poor fish dies an awful death in the toxic wastes. An ice water bath will kill a tropical fish far more mercifully.
Pets are like people: they get sick. They are also prone to parasites and need to be treated or they’ll suffer. If you can’t afford a vet bill, please don’t get a pet.
Pets should be neutered, especially females. This will cost you an arm and a leg. See above.
So many people get a cat. The cat isn’t spayed; the cat has kittens EVERY YEAR. The owner can’t find homes for all these kittens. (Look on Kijiji – you’ll see hundreds of free kittens.) So they call the SPCA and hear, “The fee for dropping a cat (or dog) off here is $$$. Gulp!
So they call Alley Cat Allies or some such organization and hear “Our shelter and foster homes are full up right now. We can’t possibly take six more kittens.” They call the vet and find out it costs $300 to put a cat down.
What happens next? Someone like me opens my door one evening and here’s a starved stray meowing plaintively. My own cats (both of them “foundlings”) are hissing in disgust at this intruder. My husband reminds me that WE can’t afford another vet bill.
What happens when people dump a cat off in the country? You may kid yourself that it will find a home on some farm. It usually DOESN’T. The resident pets (dogs and cats) drive it away. Our neighbour’s dog won’t allow a stray cat to come on their yard and neither will their three cats. Our cats feel the same. Livestock-raising methods today usually call for barns that are sealed and not accessible to strays.
So the cat wanders into the woods and starves to death (the little guy I found on my doorstep Tuesday was pretty close to that) or freezes to death or becomes A MEAL for an owl, a hawk, a fox or a coyote. Not to mention stray dogs like the two that killed a stray cat in our yard last fall.
Animals are LIVING things. They are affectionate; they love; they grieve. They are confused and even depressed when they find themselves separated from “their family.” They are totally bewildered when they find themselves abandoned somewhere.
I’ve tried to call stray cats and they’ve dashed away in terror. I’ve seen a dumped-off dog run flat out for a couple of miles trying to catch up to its owner’s vehicle. (That’s as far as I could see; he may have run for many more miles.)
One day I saw a dumped-off cat so confused by the strange surroundings that it wandered onto the road in front of a passing car. I picked up the dead cat and carried it to the shoulder of the road – and I was really ready to rant. Do you blame me?
People, DON’T DO THIS!!
Before you adopt a pet, please consider these things. Don’t be beguiled by cute and cuddly or the novelty of a piranha. Sit down and add up the cost. And if you want to get rid of your pet, take it to a vet, grit your teeth and PAY THE PRICE of euthanasia. ($200 – $300)
End of rant. Thanks for listening.
(P.S.: If anyone wants to donate a little something toward the vet bill for a starved, parasite-riddled stray cat, please forward check at your earliest convenience.)