Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pushing a sled through the snow

Why did I go all the way to Bridgewater to adopt my mighty little mini Morgan? Did I not have any cats here? Nope .. in fact I was already at my firm ( hahaha ) four cat limit! Were there no homeless cats here in the valley? Of course not! Had people stopped dumping strays in our neighbourhood? Sadly not : (((
So why, when I hate driving, did I go all the way to S.H.A.I.D ?
The writeup was why. There was an incredible story both in the newsletter and on her Petfinder bio ..... in a nutshell, Morgan was a teenage momcat who had been so badly injured when she was brought to the shelter that she couldn't walk. The story pulled out all the stops, talking about how she still took good care of her kittens, describing the gradual return of her mobility and last but not least talking about how this little youngster was still waiting ... long after her babies were weaned and adopted.
It would have taken a heart of stone to resist all that. In truth ... she has a special place in my heart simply for having survived all that. The fact that she is such a lovable and loyal little friend is almost frosting on the cake.
At any given time there are six to eight homeless cats for every homeless dog in this province. While I realize that the society statistics only paint part of the picture ( ie .. they do not reflect the numbers they cannot accept ... although in all fairness neither do anyone else's either, eh? )
Yet they do highlight one of the Unhappiest aspects of animal rescue ... if it sucks to be a homeless pet ... it REALLY sucks to be a homeless cat. At the provincial level, the live release rate for the dogs is 81.9% while it is only 55.2% for the cats.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg ... because for every cat that rescues and shelters can accept there are easily a dozen that they have to turn away ... and there is no feasible way of garnering statistics on the outcomes for THEM.
If you go to most of the rescue and shelter petfinder listings around this province, you will find informative and often witty bios for the dogs.
Sadly it is usually not the case with the cats. (And before the keyboards catch on fire, please note that I said "usually") Why are they Second Class Kittizens when it comes to Petfinder bios? Is it because cats don't have to be walked? Is it that there are ever so many more of the cats? Is it that there are so many more Unhappy Tails that staff and volunteers try not to get as emotionally engaged?
If anyone needs the extra help ... it is the cats. In a world where the simplest path is the free to a good home or the kittens that a friend or neighbour has, cat adoption should be promoted much more aggressively than the dogs.
If anyone needs the offsite adoptions, the simpler application forms, the extra promotion ... it is the kitties. And yes, we all know that in most places, once a cat hits the safe sanctuary of a rescue or shelter that they are not at such risk.
But safe or not, there are no Happy Tails for the many many others who find no room at the inn.
As a sidebar to that, cat only adoption events have proven very successful because they are so peaceful and quiet that potential adopters are more inclined to take the time to meet the kitties. Better still, they can often be held in venues that would be unsuitable for dogs. Best of all, groups that have run them in the past have found it takes less vehicles and volunteers for each event.
At the end of the day, without offsite adoption events, no rescue group or shelter is going to get to the No Kill goal of a ninety percent live release rate for cats.
What time is it? Its always time to remember that cats are first rate pets too!
Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. Jeff Valdez

1 comment:

melgeo126 said...

When I am volunteering at the Kings County shelter and see all the cats there and someone tells me each of their story it makes me want them so bad (I too am at my pet limit hehe). Whereas on a website if it just says what sex, etc it's not quite as catchy as if you were to read that this particular cat was homeless and she lost the tip of her ear to frostbite, or this cat had an elderly owner who passed away and the cat is 10. When you hear their story you then realize why they are the way they are.