I have made this point before and I think it is the single most important point in the cat world. All the discussions about cat breeds and cat behavior is nothing if we cannot stop killing the domestic cat in such large numbers every day. Without a cat’s life there is no behavior to discuss. To discuss the color of a cat’s coat is almost immoral if on the other hand we acquiesce in the killing of healthy, unwanted domestic cats at cat shelters in the millions on a nationwide basis.
The point it this. The routine killing of healthy but unwanted cats at cat rescue facilities facilitates and promotes poor cat caretaking and perpetuates the killing. It maintains the status quo and what is happening should not be sustained as it is clearly wrong.
The shelters provide an outlet for poor attitudes towards the cat. Firstly, people see how easy it is too kill a cat. The routine nature of it turns the cat into a object, not a living creature that was once a family member. It dulls the senses. In addition large scale killing of cats at shelters is like having a open drain that allows the flood of pain of abandonment to escape. It washes away the problem and in doing so it perpetuates it.
I guess many shelter managers will raise their hands in the air and wail, “what else can we do? There are too many unwanted cats.” The only way forward is to move some of the shelter resources from reactive killing to proactive life saving. Life saving includes the prevention of creation of life. If less cats are born into short, miserable unwanted lives that must be better than the current situation. That can be achieved by educating people how to care for cats to reduce relinquishments – improving retention rates. More resources should be put into cheap spay and neuter centers or mobile facilities. You can combine that with education. Add to that more widespread TNR programs and the cat killing fields that are the rescue centers should diminish.