My 12-year-old son keeps letting stray cats into my house and they pee in my cat’s food. What should I do? This is a question on Quora.com. The answers that I have read more or less say that the child should be educated not to bring stray cats into the house and don’t be so stupid. What they say is that he should be told that bringing stray cats in will bring in diseases and fleas et cetera. Note: they are probably spraying urine into the cat food to take ownership of the food and the territory.
I think the answers are incomplete. The first point that I would make is that this 12-year-old boy clearly wants to help stray cats. He has a good heart. He likes animals. This attitude should be nurtured and developed as it is very civilised. For me, it’s a wonderful attitude. He just needs to be educated on how to help the cats in the most effective manner.
So what I would do is to talk to him and educate him about stray cats and where they come from (essentially irresponsible cat ownership). I would educate him as to how they can acquire diseases which can be transmitted to the family cat. His mother could discuss fleas and feline diseases in as much depth as she can muster. She may have to educate herself first. And I’d say to my son that stray cats do need help and it’s good that he was trying to do it.
Then I would find out the best way to help the stray cats in question. There may be an animal shelter not too far away who may be able to help but she’d have to check on the kill policy. There may be a TNR program in operation in the area. There may be volunteers living nearby who the mother can contact. TNR volunteers are great people with a lot of knowledge. They may be able to speak to the family to tell them how they help stray cats. The boy might like to become involved.
There are so many possibilities and they all come down to 2 branches of action which are (a) praising the boy for helping stray cats and (b) educating him as to how he could help stray cat in a way which did not jeopardise the health of the family cat.
In the long term if this boy continues to have an interest in helping animals it should be developed without any pressure from his parents to see where it leads.
This is not an instance where the child should be in any way castigated for doing something stupid. I believe it would be far wiser to take the good from his behaviour and apply some corrections to it through education and then together go out to help these stray cats in a more efficient and practical manner.
Note: The picture has been added to illustrate the page. The cats are not connected to this story.
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