Animals are the most beloved creatures to grace a household; they become a member of the family. I’ll never forget the day I came home as a 6 year old, bouncy little boy and was greeted by a new dog by the name of Anna. Equally, I’ll always remember the shy and mysterious cat that used to hide out in my spare room by the name of Misty. Pets have always been a part of my life, and so too have they been for around 46% of all families in the United Kingdom.
For this article, I will focus on the elegant, vibrant, curious and often clumsy cat.
Cats are often symbolic of a typical pet; a cute, perky, clingy creature that loves its owner in a unique way. Cats start out as a small, speedy and frankly silly form known as kittens and It’s at this stage that most families fall in love with the ball of silky fur with beady eyes bouncing around the room after flies and other such insects. Much like small children, their curiosity clings to anything moving fast enough, anything that inspires awe and mystery, and anything that gives it attention. This is the reason so many fall in love with kittens, because they’re kind of like us.
Things change, though. Much like babies, kittens grow up fast. They become independent, they grow in size, and they develop their own attitudes. That once bubbly bundle of beauty may now prefer to be alone, much to their owners dismay. This is where it sets the kind-hearted from the shallow. If you truly loved your pet, if you truly cared for it like the member of your family it is, you would accept these natural changes and embrace your unique cat. You wouldn’t do what so many people do, and abandon them. Infact, more than 100 of them are abandoned each day, commonly because they grew up.
Now lets put this into perspective. Would you throw your child out on the street; in the cold, harsh rainy weather with no shelter, or the searingly hot summer with no water, to die of hypothermia or dehydration, to wander aimlessly and hopelessly amongst the speeding traffic? i’d hope you would say no, so why not have the same attitude for a cat? “Because I can’t afford it”, most people reply. Pardon my colloquial ‘French’, but that’s a load of crap. It’s quite common that a kitten costs a considerable amount more to care for than a fully grown cat. You just weren’t prepared for what it would become. You wanted the cute kitten forever.
I apologise if this comes across as some sort of rant, but the message needs to be heard. Too many helpless pets are abandoned on a day to day basis for their owners own faults, yet nothing changes.
Another major issue comes the failure to neuter a cat.
It seems like such a trivial, small thing, but in reality, it saves lives. Wherein a female cat may not be neutered, she could have 6 litters in the space of two years. Each litter bears around 4-6 kittens, so you’re looking at owning 24-36 cats…not an ideal situation, but one you’ve put yourself into.
Here’s another cold, hard fact. A single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just 7 years.
My father manages an RSPCA branch, as well as his own ‘cat rescue’, which was partly established to house cats following the mass inundation his RSPCA centre receives. On a day to day basis, he witnesses the cat crisis so many centres face; thousands of cats need homes where there are only hundreds of places. Too many have to be turned down, too many are left without love.
I urge you, if you own a cat, to get it neutered. I urge those who are considering owning a kitten to think ahead. I urge anyone looking to own a cat in general to adopt from the RSPCA or any other organisation, because the one thing these abandoned cats need more than anything is love.
-Benjamin John Wareing