This cat news story is saddening. It is not the sort of information that one wants to hear and, for me, it indicates the failure of governments to take bold enough steps to change the attitudes of cat owners. It takes bold, brave decisions by governments to improve cat ownership but laws can change attitudes. And there is certainly a need to change the mindset of a significant proportion of cat owners (anywhere in the world) who think that it is okay to dump cats and kittens because they have decided that they can’t afford to take care of them or can’t find suitable housing for themselves and their cat.
You’d hope that over two decades in a place as sophisticated as Vancouver, Canada, that standards and attitudes in cat guardianship would have improved but on this report, sadly not.
Karen Duncan the co-founder of Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA) said in an interview with CTV News Vancouver that she sees more abandoned cats and kittens nowadays than when the rescue started 20 years ago.
“First of the month, we brace ourselves. In that week, we get calls of cats left behind. Neighbours call us. Landlords call us.”
The first of the month cat crisis is telling because this links in with paying rent and a time when cat owners disappear and leave their cats behind.
About a week ago VOKRA rescued a box of cats from a community garden. They had been abandoned and left vulnerable to predators – “sitting ducks” to coyotes. What is interesting is that a homeless mad spent the night with them to protect them. How about that? A homeless guy does the right thing and the owners did the opposite. That says a bit about society as well.
“We’re so grateful that he looked after them. The coyotes go through all the time. They’re looking for something to eat.” – Karen Duncan.
The homeless man did his duty and disappeared. He didn’t stay around long enough for Duncan to thank him.
Duncan would like landlords to reappraise their policy regarding pets. She believes that pet owners are more likely to be decent tenants. I am not so sure because they seem all too willing to dump their cats whenever the going gets tough.
If society is going to take abandoned cats seriously, through local government there needs to be a tightening up of cat ownership standards. That means ordinances, laws which places an obligation to higher standards on pet owners. It’s not good enough for rescue organisations to continually pick up the pieces.
Note: Anne Hesse in a comment made a good point about this perceived increase in cat abandonments. There is almost certainly an increased awareness of animal welfare nowadays compared to 20 years ago. This may result in more instances of reporting of cats being dumped. There is a growing awareness of animal welfare generally in most countries as people become more educated and enlightened. For example about 60 years ago a lot of vets believed that cats did not feel pain. That belief today seems ridiculous. Thanks Anne for reminding me of this possibility.