Sunday, May 16, 2010

spay or neuter your pet and take in a stray today!!

Someone posed a question on one of my posts about Tabitha and the kittens (Tippy, Ty, Eli and Sammi). It was a very good question about why had my cat had kittens, and whether these kittens were going to keep on reproducing. Here's my response:

None of "my" cats have kittens, they are all neutered and spayed at six months or as soon as they come into my home if they are older. Tabitha was a stray that took up residence under my house during the very cold winter (through a hole that has since been blocked). I don't know who her putative owners were, but they were irresponsible, not only for not having her spayed, but also for not providing adequate shelter from winter weather.

For three months she lived under my house and was so scared that the minute the front door opened she disappeared under the house. I never got within 20 feet of her (and had no idea of her gender) from December through March; much less be able to capture her and engage in preventative medical intervention. Then one day, instead of running away she ran to me and rubbed all over me, wanting to be picked up. The reason was obvious -- she was hugely pregnant (nearly 50 days as it turned out).

The only choice (to me) was to take her in, and care for her and the kittens. There are no animal shelters of any kind in our county, and none in the region either public or Humane Society, that take cats. And only one distant one that takes dogs. I resent the fact that other people are not as responsible with their pets as my husband and I are. Eastern Kentucky has a huge cat and dog over-population problem. Not only do strays wander about, but even most cats and many dogs that have "owners" wander around lose, able (and of course willing) to reproduce at will.

There are good responsible people in my county, who not only take care of their own animals, but who also work hard to raise money and awareness. Efforts are underway to raise money to build a shelter in our county, but bad economic times make that difficult. In the meantime the only real alternative is to take care of strays oneself.

The medical care that we will provide for Tabitha and her kittens includes an appointment (made the day that the kittens were born) for Mama Tabitha to be spayed and the kittens to get their first shots. That will happen next week. The kittens will be spayed or neutered in five months time.

The kittens like Tabitha will become part of my household, bringing up to 11 the total cat population. They will have food and shelter, and good veterinary care for the rest of their lives. We had really hoped to allow our cat population to decline through natural attrition (old age). So that by the time I retired we would be catless. But fate sent Tabitha our way, and we could not turn our backs. Nor could we just keep putting out food and providing a sanctuary (under our house) for continued reproduction.

The compensation for acting responsibly is that for the first time in 13 years we get to enjoy the wonder and joy of kittens.


bethb119 said...

You and your husband are very generous. I don't know too many people who would willingly take on the responsibility and full expense of caring for momma cat and her kittens. Bless you for your kindness.

Quiet Paths said...

I totally get this. We have two older cats and now a kitten we took in 18 months ago because the local shelter was overlowing. You two are so big hearted.

Quiet Paths said...

That is the shelter was over flowing! oops. We got Zoe spayed at 6 mos.

Jessica G said...

Wow Sue! It's been busy at your house!

What a lucky cat to pick your home to take shelter under!

Hope all is well with Momma and the little ones!

joy said...

I purchased 2 kittens this December from the Pike county shelter.oops-I mean Santa brought them from the shelter. The fee is 35 and it includes a spay or neuter and shots and all the works. The kids were in heaven. Kittens are completely different kinds of fun, we never get bored.

Qaro said...

That's true, she was a lucky cat to pick your house! Thanks for your caring and sharing.