The cute and uplifting Cats Protection Christmas video tells a story that occurs far too often in many countries. The reality is very sad and the outcome is often not as happy as presented in the video. In other words the real stories of cat and dog abandonment often don’t end in a uplifting way with hope and accomplishment. They end in the loss of cats’ lives and much cruelty leading to that sad end.
I like the video. It is meant to be a Christmas video and can’t represent all cat abandonments. There has to be a happy ending. But cat abandonment is painfully commonplace and in general unhappiness surrounds the whole ghastly process.
It can happen in so many ways. There are a thousand ways to be cruel to a cat. The cardboard box that we see in the video is fairly typical but in the real world the box is not left open as shown but taped shut. And cats are dumped in boxes by the side of the road but sometimes, most often, cats are just chucked out of vehicles by the roadside or on to the road.
That kind of cat abandonment is carried out men normally. We see this quite often: kittens in the middle of the road, bemused and either crushed by a following car or some brave soul stops the traffic and rescues the little fella. That’s been reported on a few times in the USA this year in the online press. Or a kitten is stranded on the side of a four lane highway, petrified as speeding traffic thunders by yards from him. These cases often end up in dramatic rescues by a rescue organisation or the police.
Women normally leave boxes in woods or at dumpsters. Perhaps the worst reported example of abandoning unwanted cats was the case of the person who dumped many locked cat carriers with cats inside in woods where they were invisible to the public. The cats starved to death. There have been several cases in 2019 of women driving up to dumpsters and leaving kittens nearby. Kittens being treated as trash at a trash site is particularly poignant.
Sometimes people abandon their cats in boxes or crates at the front door of a cat shelter or an animal hospital. That’s a bit bizarre to me. It is a halfway stage between doing the right thing – taking the cats to a shelter – and abandoning the cats because the person feels shame and wants to remain anonymous. All they had to do if they had the guts to do things the right way would be to walk through the front door and admit that they want to relinquish their cats. Bite the bullet and do it guys, please.
These people sometimes abandon their cats in the middle of the night in boxes as described outside a shelter during sub-zero temperatures. That’s stupid and cruel when they could just as well have visited the shelter during the day and spoken to the shelter staff. Yes, the cats may end up being euthanised but that’s another story and in any case many shelters nowadays are genuine no-kill. Try and pick one and own up to how cat ownership has gone wrong rather than surreptitiously sneak around the shelter at night.
All cat abandonment is carried out anonymously in a sneaky way out of the public’s eye. It is the guilt which prevents these people confronting their wrongdoing. However, often security cameras catch them in the act and they are caught and prosecuted but the vast majority are not.
Domestic cats are still far too often treated as objects to possess like a car or any other non-sentient thing. This attitude or relationship with cats allows the people concerned to be cruel to animals. They don’t see cruelty because they don’t relate to the cats as feeling, sentient beings.
The Cats Protection video is good. It tells a typical story but the reality is often not as pleasant. Cats Protection is a very large cat rescue organisation in the UK which comprises a network of cat fosterers.
SOME MORE ON CAT ABANDONMENT…
Cat owner’s desperate note to vet shows how Australia’s cost-of-living crisis affects cat welfare: ‘Sorry to have to do this’
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