Monday, September 27, 2010

Taking off the gloves

This is one of my very favourite times of the year.  From now until Thanksgiving, Mother Natures palette brushes our tree lined country roads with some new bit of beauty every day.
To be perfectly honest ...what's not to love?   The bugs are generally finished in the woods.  The leaves are still on the trees and aren't yet a slippery carpet to make climbing up and down the ridge such risky business.  Best of all, the more moderate temperatures put the spring back in everyone's step for our hikes.
This is also the time of year when people start noticing stray cats more.  The ones that didn't become coyote or hawk or fox or eagle chow... the ones that were adept enough at hunting not to starve ... the little teenage mother cats who survived being tossed aside to birth their babies in the wild ..... all the little survivors who were tossed aside like rubbish will be trying to charm their way into the warmth and safety of domestic bliss.
Everyone agrees that its not humane to let them starve.  Yet municipal tax mail outs are short on solutions and long on advice about encouraging strays to move on.
Yes I know that the Kings Branch, like the Valley Animal Shelter ( and everyone else )  is full.   Does finding a better outcome for strays always have to involve having shelter space?  Of course not!   Many people will take in strays ... where the problem arises is the areas that are popular dumping grounds.  Eventually even the kindest of hearts "fill up" so it is poor planning on anyone's part to assume that strays will always find safe harbour when they show up.
Many people people are actually like Miss Ruby and Henry.   My beautiful big dogs live in harmony with my six beautiful cats .. in fact they often do double duty as cat warmers at night :)
But these same dogs that snuggle with cats inside view any cat outside of the door as a completely different species.  The best example I can think of that is Dora and Oscar.  When they were still outside, the big dogs went on more than one merry gallop around the house after them.   The instant I brought Dora and Oscar into the house ... they were viewed in a completely different light.
In much the same way, purported animal lovers are quite capable of viewing stray cats as nuisances.  They are sprayed with hoses / fired at with pellet guns / poisoned / shot / caught in bags to be tossed in the river / etc.
Its more realistic to think that the Great Pumpkin is actually going to visit than to expect there are happy outcomes for all the stray cats in this province.
It IS helpful when shelters like Metro offer spay neuter help for kind hearts that bring in strays.  But this type of thing is seldom well advertised ... nor is it the be all and end all solution.
The stray problem is so darned huge that no ONE particular thing is going to be a quick and easy fix.   Its going to take:
  • someone having enough balls to initiate legislation to ban the traffic of living breathing sentient beings in all the free online ad sites
  • People waking up to the fact that the numbers of cats that are killed in Nova Scotia every year are still staggering.  (CAPS was formed because Annapolis County residents were horrified to discover dogs were being shot by Annapolis AC ... if that kind of energy could just be harnessed for the cats just imagine how fast our politicians would react !)
  • Municipalities recognizing that it is cheaper to pony up with spay neuter chits available at vet clinics than to tie up overtasked AC with nuisance complaints
  • Undercutting the competition of 'free to a good homes' with Off Site Cat only adoption events, and last, but not least
  • municipalities not to expect rescues and tnr groups to be their clean up crews without providing meaningful support and creating better and more humane cat bylaws.
Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand.  Bodie Thoene

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