Pet Tips 'n' Tales

ONE Kitten TWO Many?

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Barbara, a volunteer for the Humane Society, holds a homeless kitten who is loudly announcing to the world that he has arrived!  The kitten's rescue proves that an animal's life is a responsibility to someone, his story is all too common, and so are the results.

TALES

How do you ignore the cries of a hungry baby? Can you walk away from a kitten knowing it is begging for food and a chance to live?  A starving kitten is a heart gripper, and there is an epidemic!  Homeless cats are delivering kittens in alleys, under buildings, and on porches.

Wholly Cats Rescue bottle-fed 700 newborn kittens before its owners, Nancy and Rachel, recently moved to another state.  This number of newborn kittens does not include other unwanted and/or homeless kittens born in our community!

Proportionally, if you consider these overwhelming numbers of kittens, our town is overloaded with pets due to the lack of responsible pet parenting.  Yes, you may find a home for your pet's last litter, but will the new pets' parents neuter and spay them!  

Irresponsible people are dumping their problem onto others, leaving newborn kittens on doorsteps or dumping kittens in the country to starve to death--out-of-mind, out-of-sight for them, but the suffering for the kittens is horrendous.  
 
Wholly Cats tried to help as best they could.   These two ladies fed and cared for the helpless tiny kittens until the babes either thrived or, as so often happened, died as a result of their abandonment circumstances.

Nancy explains, "Each year, nearly 200 newborn kittens arrived into our care. Their mortality rate was 30%.  Many had FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis), which is passed from mother to kittens.  FIP is deadly; there is no test for it, no treatment, and no cure. It caused half of our losses because it is very virulent and affects the entire litter.  Distemper also took a heavy toll.

The remaining deaths were due to kittens being exposed to low temperatures before being rescued; they died because they could not retain their body heat.  The kittens lived for a day or two after rescue, only to die from organ failure.  We spared no effort in trying to save them all.  It's not easy dealing with so many lost babies. People are unaware of the untold suffering of the babies and those of us who try to save them and then have to deal with their tiny lifeless bodies."

"It is unbelievable that an All American City of 9,400 residents has so many kitten rescues.  If this number was rescued, how many were not found who starved to death or died from the cold?  This is a disgrace to our humanity, our decency, our compassion.  There should be NO unwanted kittens," adamantly states Janetta Overholser, president of the Humane Society of Cottage Grove (HSCG). "Our community is in dire need of kind people to step up where Nancy and Rachel left off by helping to bottle-feed the newborns and foster them.  Not surprisingly, neutering a pet is easier than weeks of bottle-feeding helpless offspring."
 
To make matters worse; kitten season now appears to be all year long.   Kittens become pregnant as young as five months old.  It is IMPERATIVE to get them spayed/neutered ASAP."

Not surprisingly, "dumping" an unwanted cat puts it out of your sight, but its struggle to survive is hampered because they are domesticated animals with a 2% survival rate.  Kittens have a 0% chance of survival, and their suffering from starvation or attacks by larger animals is their only guarantee in life.

Sadly the sweet gentle kitten in the photo above died a few days after his rescue.  "The saddest thing about this kitten was that I could tell he really wanted to live," says Barbara.
 
Be part of the solution. Prevent unwanted kittens. Neuter/spay your pets or help others do the same by donating funds to the Humane Society Gift Shop at N. 8th Street, Monday through Saturday, 10am-4pm -- or Humane Society PO Box 61, Cottage Grove, OR 97424 USA
 
In Cottage Grove, there are low-cost spay and neuter options:  a $20 off coupon at HSCG, the Low Income Spay/Neuter Assistance Program, and the Willamette Animal Guild in Eugene. Contact your local veterinarians and Greenhill Humane Society for other options.

TIPS

Now is the time to neuter and spay.  Cats can deliver four litters a year, dogs a dozen puppies.  Participate, don't populate pets...neuter and spay at four months of age.  Amazingly, pets begin mating as early as five months old.

Barbara volunteers at the Humane Society's This 'n' That shop, where all the proceeds go to homeless animals to aid neutering and spaying programs. Donate your unwanted household goods for them to sell or pop into the shop and discover some fun treasures; pet supplies, pictures, ornaments, and bedding at wonderfully low prices.

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Mary Ellen and Miss Wings
Tips 'n' Tales Newspaper Columnist Mary Ellen with Miss Wings
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