December is supposed to be the most joyful month of the year as each of us celebrate the holiday in our own way. Unfortunately, many cats are paying the price with their lives because the person who was supposed to love them forever is either too lazy or too uninformed about cat behavior to keep their cat at home during the holiday. Owner surrendered cats are increasing in shelters across America, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. At the end of this article, please leave a comment on your feelings about a cat owner who dumps their cat at the local shelter rather than coming up with a solution to a temporary problem caused by holiday conflicts.
A lot of cat owners have decided to travel this year. The price of gas is down, so more people are taking advantage and visiting family. Or a cat owner has family coming in from out of town who don’t share their love of cats. Rather than check into options available to care for their cat while they’re gone, these owners are taking the easy way out and dumping “Fluffy” at the shelter. Since Fluffy comes in as an owner surrender, state law on hold time doesn’t apply. Fluffy can be killed at any time, even on the day Fluffy enters the shelter. News flash: Fluffy would have been content in a small bathroom if the decision was made due to family arriving for a holiday visit.
When I first noticed the increase beginning around Thanksgiving, I was unsure what the problem was. I thought it was a Christmas tree/decoration issue. Anyone with cats can understand the disaster that can occur when cats and tinsel, tree decorations and the tree itself are in the same house. We nixed the decorations several years ago because our Furby is an accident waiting to happen. I’ve already received one report on a cat who got entangled in the tree lights and died while the owner was away from the home.
The traveling during Christmas issue should be easy enough to correct without sacrificing the family cat. There are services available where a person with outstanding references can be paid to go to the home daily and check on the cat and provide food and water and clean the litter box. There are boarding facilities (some are really fancy) where a cat will be cared for. Even if the cat is kept in a cage at the family vet, it’s a better option than what’s basically throwing the cat away and never seeing it again. How can a cat lover shun a cage at the vet, yet turn their cat over to a kill shelter? What is WRONG with people? A cat is a member of the family, and people who make the decision to take on the care of a cat should think these things out beforehand.
Do the owners who surrender their cats, do you not realize you’re putting your cat in a life or death situation. Most shelters are breeding grounds for upper respiratory infections. The dreaded kitty cold, which is easily treated at home, often proves deadly in an overcrowded shelter. A stressed out cat who doesn’t know what he did wrong to end up alone in a crowded cage is much more likely to get sick and die or be euthanized. Cat owners, don’t even try to convince yourself that your cat is beautiful and will find a new home. Beautiful cats (as all cats are) are killed on a daily basis. They’re killed for space, for illness and for behavioral issues. Those who aren’t killed sit in a small cage for weeks waiting for their person to come back and save them.
Readers, how do you, as a cat lover, handle the holidays? I’m sure many of you either leave town or have family visit. Perhaps a good recommendation on how you handle December will save the life of a cat. Please comment, and also remember the cat who died after becoming entangled in Christmas lights while his owner was away.
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