The three go together, don’t they? What is it that brings these three words together, so often? You have to come to one conclusion: the world is potentially a dangerous place for a cat or the cat is a danger to people if, as so often happens, people separate the cat from the world and people.
The ubiquitous cat cage reminds me how unsatisfactory it can be, sometimes, for the cat to live in the human world which is, as a matter of fact, “The World”. It is now a human construction and every part of the world is touched by human activity and every time the cat can be affected.
Often, we have to separate the cat from the human. In rescue centers nearly all the cats are in cages. In zoos, cats are in cages. We take our cat to the vet in a cage. Breeders keep their cats in cages. Backyard zoos are full of cages confining large exotic cats that need an area to live in that is millions of times larger. The remarkable fact is that the people who put these cats in cages in their backyard think it is normal.
Wouldn’t it be nice if a rescue center kept all their cats in a wide open large space with indoor and outdoor areas? Totally impractical, people will say. The idea is crazy. Why is the idea crazy? It is crazy because it would be financially unworkable. It would cost too much to run a cat rescue facility that covered many acres in which the cats played and enjoyed themselves and, here is the important bit…people are unwilling to spend any more money than necessary on stray cats. Understandable. Cat rescue is a cut-price business. So the reason why cats are in cages in rescue centres is because we don’t want to spend the money to make the lives of these cats better while they are waiting for a new home. Why is that? Because we don’t value their lives anymore than fairly cheaply if we are honest. Cats have little value, is the conclusion.
Wouldn’t it be nice if all zoos were 100 times larger? Impractical. It would cost too much. Once again cage confinement of zoo cats comes down to the value of the cat to society and the value is reflected in the size of the cage. I have conclude that we don’t value wild cat species very highly.
Take cat breeders and kitten mills. The smaller the cage for the breeding cats the more commercial the breeder is. It is all about valuing the life of the cat.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take our cat to the veterinarian without using a cage (cat carrier). Totally idiotic idea and impractical. Why? Because cats don’t like cars and being at a vet’s. They panic. It would be dangerous for our cat. Shouldn’t all vets come to the cat? Crazy idea because it would cost too much. Once again the cat is confined to a cage because of the value we place on him/her. We can’t afford to get a vet to come out to our home. So financially we are unable to provide best veterinary care. But if vets were cheaper we could afford it and we would do it. It is about money again. The value we place on the cat companion.
There is no absolute rule which says we cannot have a companion animal veterinary service part subsidised by the state. If we did, cats would not be in cages going to the vet’s clinic. Of course, it sounds preposterous and it will never happen because we don’t value animals highly enough. We value submarines and nuclear missiles far more highly. We value trying to make Afghanistan more “civilized” (by Western standards which can be disputed) and ridding the country of the Taliban which is impossible.
The Afghan war has cost Britain more than £37bn! It has cost the USA, $700bn. There are 4,500 vet practices in the UK. If each was worth half a million pounds that makes a total value of £2,250 million or £2.25bn, a fraction of the cost of the Afghan war. The entire veterinary business in the UK is worth 6% of the value of the Afghan war.
We can afford an NHS for animals. We just don’t want to do it. Note: the Afghan war is a waste of money and worse: when we leave the country it is likely to revert to the way it was before we started. Zero benefit for the billions spent.
We value the wrong things. We waste our money on the wrong things. It is possible to reduce the number of cats in cages. It is just a question of redistributing the money and to start valuing the lives of all animals more highly.
Photo by Michael