This is not a brand new story but it is ultimately a happy cat story and one which focuses our minds on the practice of mass euthanasia at animal shelters and how to stop it.

You may have heard about Andrea but perhaps not. She is all over the cat internet, I have just discovered although it first came to light in October last year. It concerns a black cat named Andrea who for a while lived at shelter in Utah, USA. You probably know that black adult cats are one of the last types of cats to be adopted. They are unpopular perhaps because superstition surprisingly still exists with respect to the black cat. I find that odd to be frank.

Anyway, like many black cats before her, she was destined to end up in a gas chamber. Pause. Stop and think. Did you read “gas chamber”. I am afraid you did.

Gas chambers for killing cats at animal shelters is considered cruel, isn’t it? It is a cheap and efficient way of destroying a cat, healthy or otherwise but it hurts and terrifies the cat for while until dead. That is the hideous bit of the story.

The good bit is that Andrea refused to die in the gas chamber so they put her back in. She refused to die again but they shelter people did not know that she was still alive after the second attempt so like all killed cats they put in a plastic bag and into the cooler (or freezer). Question? Why was she in a plastic bag in a cooler if she was in effect a piece of disposable rubbish?

The wonderful bit of the story is that shelter staff discovered that Andrea had not died after all she had been through: two gassings, one plastic bag (suffocation?) and one night in a cooler.

This little, nondescript, ordinary black cat had achieved the extraordinary and survived humankind’s best attempts to get rid of her; a testament to the toughness of the domestic cat.

The story should remind us of how inappropriate the concept of mass cat and dog euthanasia is in a civilized society like the United States particularly when it is carried out in gas chambers. Some of these cats were family members.

Gassing, trends

Gasing should be banned. Apparently carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide is used. Surprisingly gassing of feral cats still happens.

In fact there is an argument that all so called euthanasia at animal shelters should stop unless it is genuine euthanasia (cat is terminally ill).

Another bit of good news. There seems to be slow but general trend away from euthanizing animals at rescue organizations. It appears that before 1970 about 20m where killed and in 2011 the figure in near 4m. Also in a poll 79% of people under 30 supported euthanasia for genuine cases only while for people over 50 the percentage is 67%. This indicates the the practice is losing support.

Perhaps people will find better ways of dealing with the overpopulation of domestic and stray cats. I have always felt that killing unwanted cats supports more killing. The focus should be on proactive measures not reactive ones, which mass killing definitely is. Proactive measures includes, spaying, neutering and outreach to promote more responsible cat caretaking.

The true nationwide, no-kill concept is achievable, it is thought.

No Kill Animal Shelters and a second post here.

Bad Experience With No Kill Cat Shelter

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A Bad and Good Cat Story

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Jan 19, 2012
Rating
Horrific
by: Barbara

I don’t know how I’d never heard of Andrea until I read this article, poor, poor cat what she must have gone through is unbearable to think about. How can anyone work in these places that kill cats so indiscriminately? It isn’t a place for cat lovers that’s for sure. I just googled the story and was relieved to see that Andrea was finally adopted into a loving home but surely more effort should be made to rehome cats rather than kill them by the hundreds!There are no kill shelters – ALL shelters should be no kill


Jan 19, 2012
Rating
where is andrea now?
by: leanne

i had heard of the gas chambers for killing countless unwanted and unloved animals, but this story is even more horrific. that poor cat had to endure this agony not once but twice, then thrown into a plastic bag, i presume these animals don’t have the ‘luxury’ of having a bag to themselves, so she has been put into the freezer in a bag with other dead/dying? animals, before being discovered still alive. how do the people whose job it is to do this cope with that? i’d never sleep again. i would like to know where she is now, has she found a family to love and protect her, please don’t tell me she is still in the centre.


Jan 19, 2012
Rating
Education on neutering needed
by: Ruth

I read about Andrea and it really touched my heart. That poor little cat must have been terrified out of her wits and that she survived gassing,suffocation, cooling and the shock of it all, is a miracle.
It’s terrible how unwanted cats are killed that way to make room for more unwanted cats and so it goes on.
How anyone can work at a kill shelter is incredible to me, I don’t see how they can claim to love cats.
When will people realise cats are not disposable possessions, they are living feeling creatures with the right to their lives.
When doing Shelter studies for Dr Hofve it was sickening to read the pathetic excuses people made to relinquish their cats.
How could they then walk away and leave them to their fate !
Much more education on neutering is urgently needed.
Far better unwanted kittens are never born than suffer like Andrea did !


Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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