After reading an article in a local paper a few weeks ago I have debated and been very frustrated over the message it sent out.
The article itself was written by an Edinburgh vet and was very misleading in its message to the public. The basis of the article was a great idea and was encouraging people to consider adopting older pets from rescues.
The reasoning for doing so according to this article was of course that older cats make wonderful additions to your home, which of course they do. However the point I did take note of and which angered me was the article stated the reason for so few kittens were available in rescues was that Edinburgh pet owners neutering rates were so high it was reducing the number of unwanted litters of kittens. Therefore making kittens very hard to come by.
On this point I have to say this is completely untrue and such mis information is a loaded gun to pets. If I were an irresponsible owner or BSB it would be easy to interpret this as a signal not to neuter and to continue churning out kittens and puppies as there are so few available then people must be desperate for them, especially in the run up to Xmas.
The cold hard facts are this couldn’t be further from the truth. All you have to do is go on the free ad websites and see dozens upon dozens of litters for sale. Each kitten or puppy is usually under age, with little or no basic health care and being sold for ridiculous amounts of money. It is this ‘retailing’ of pets that has seen a decline in the number of kittens in rescue and the public have learnt how to make a quick buck at their pets expense. Once they get a taste for it, it won’t stop and you can see this for yourself with a little research as it is the same people posting the same ads every few months.
Have these mothers received veterinary and regular health care? I very much doubt it.
These poor mums bodies are weakened over time. Drained of life and their youth and many suffer with hip pain and illness from the lack of nutrients and basic care whilst churning out a litter of kittens one after the other. Many are pregnant again before their existing litter is even weaned.
What life is this for any cat or dog or any animal for that matter. Cats in particular are such intelligent loving animals who make wonderful companions and their urge to mate is driven purely by hormones. Neutering removes this and allows them to lead happy contented lives.
The sight of fear and often panic on the faces of young kittens, a mere 8 or 9 months old as they give birth for the first time is heart breaking. They should be running around carefree and exploring life, having fun. They shouldn’t be having their first litter whilst they are babies themselves and the physical drain will often stunt their growth.
There is a long running debate over whether free ad sites should allow the unregulated sale of animals, personally I don’t think it should be permitted for many reasons and a regulated means should be created. That however is a topic for the future.
One thing I do know though is that in order to stop this exploitation of pets for money we have to make it much harder for them to be able to sell puppies & kittens. Then and only then will we be able to make real headway in neutering and reducing the overall number of pets abandoned and ending up in rescue. Whilst it is still so easy to sell and find buyers this generation of back street breeders will never change.
How can you help? By turning to rescue every time you look for a pet, not the freeads. Help stamp out this exploitation by removing the demand and save these mummy cats and dogs from a life of breeding. Give them back their lives.
Please, please spread the word because until more people stop and think, before they buy, rather than acting on impulse then we will never be able to change the fate of future generations of pets for the better.