This is a difficult photograph to look at for animal advocates because what we see is a large group of cute, stray kittens huddled together. They are all very young and innocent. They are outside and their futures are uncertain. Their existence is the product of human carelessness in some shape or form. We don’t know the back story but what we see is down to human behaviour, obviously. The picture is on Twitter and the comments to the picture are interesting. The person who tweeted the picture works for or owns Gandolf Legacy Cat Rescue. They captioned the picture: “A human created this and it just rips my heart out 💔”.
The first comment states: “So are you doing anything about it? Don’t show this and hurt people’s feelings like wtf. Show me something positive about it”. The commenter is annoyed. I think they are being unfair.
Another person commented by stating that stray cats have a phenomenal reproduction rate. They are blaming the cats. I take the point but the original and root source of the problem is human carelessness.
They also stated that some government institution should be able to help but a response to that comment is this: “The government or state does not care. Do you know shelters get more money to put the animals to sleep than to help them find a home?” Yes, I think shelters are unlikely to help but they vary as to their attitude towards stray and feral cats. There are many more no-kill shelters in America than there were before. I don’t think the picture is perhaps as bleak as that person painted.
Another commenter also criticised the person who posted the picture. They said: “First of all were the cats locked inside a house or were they outside? If they were outside then how did a human do that?”
Well, I can answer that one. It doesn’t matter whether they’re inside or outside. If adult cats are reproducing, the root cause of the problem is people in allowing it to happen. Somewhere down the line, if you go back far enough, there will be an adult female cat who is unspayed and she became pregnant. All feral and stray cats are ultimately the result of human neglect, carelessness or sloppy cat caregiving.
I don’t want to sound far too critical because we are all fallible including me. We all make mistakes but we can’t shy away from the fact that what we see in the picture is a product of human behaviour. So, this person has missed the point.
This person also questioned why the picture was ‘ripping out the heart’ of the cat rescuer who posted the pic. He thinks the lives of the kittens won’t be too bad. They are right in one way: their lives might not be too bad if they are cared for by somebody and rehomed fairly promptly. But there’s lots of kittens there and the chance of picking up an infectious viral disease, a bacterial infection, endoparasites, ectoparasites or being injured are quite high to very high and they are, as stated, very vulnerable. That is why the person said that it ripped their heart out.
Loretta, another commenter, said: “A shelter would probably kill them all under the feral excuse”. I get the message. This is another criticism of shelters where many cats are euthanised and sometimes feral cats are automatically, it seems to me, euthanised because they believe that nobody will adopt them and they have too many cats look after in any case.
Another commenter thought that the picture was ‘horrific’. I guess it is for the same thoughts that others have: how many kittens will survive? Will they feel lots of pain and distress before they die? Who will look after them? What will become of them? They are all so cute and they don’t know what is going to befall them and, in some instances, it is going to be pretty horrible unless something good happens.