A Moral Dilemma

I haven’t updated this blog for a little while due in the main to running Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue & our family committments. Today however gave way to a Dilemma we all too often find ourselves in and I thought I’d share.

The crux of the situation is this. The Harbour is full to bursting, in fact when is it ever anything else. The phone rings relentlessly with people who say they can’t keep their cats anymore. Whilst yes, some I empathise with, others have found themselves in the situation due to poor choices and impulsive purchases (the curse of the free ads pet trade).

Today’s situation is a tricky dilemma that we all too often find ourselves in. When confronted by 2 options.

1 is to squeeze in a kitten or 2, make them safe.

2 is to accept we have no space and refuse knowing what fate lies ahead for them. We know this as we are told that if we can’t take them and they ‘must’ go now so will be advertised. Those of you who have read my earlier blog posts will have an idea of just ‘where’ this could be. This potential space will now no longer be available for a genuine emergency.

More often than not we take option 1 knowing that option 2 really is the correct choice but at the same time how could we live with ourselves knowing we had possibly sealed the fate of the little soul.

So we put us all through stress & extra work trying to work out where to house them, relieving someone else’s problem. Yet again…. We’re the dumping ground for peoples pets that they chose to have but who can’t cope with their behaviour. We carry the burden of people’s irresponsible, rash decisions to have pets they clearly can’t care for. People who look to re house their pets having only had them a few short weeks.

What chance does any animal have in today’s throwaway society. People have lost the ability to commit to care for their pets. They feel it is their right to have pets, well no its not. It’s a privelege and if you can’t provide love, care and safety for an animal you chose to have then don’t get a pet.

All too often we hear statements like “a kitten is better for kids you bring a kitten up the way you want it” The truth couldn’t be further from it.

You don’t create the personality of your pet anymore than you create the personality of your child. Expecting a pet, especially a cat, to be moulded to what suits you just isn’t going to happen. But instead of tossing them away because they don’t ‘fit’ try understanding their perspective, give them space & keep a genuine rescue space free for a cat in genuine desperate need.

What option will it be next time? I really don’t know and it really depends
the circumstances.

Certainly, for now there will be no more arrivals until space is created as we are too full. At the same time we are desperately fundraising to generate extra income to enable us to create the new rescue centre and services so we don’t have to make this difficult choice every single day as we will have more space to cope.

Until then….the dilemma continues



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3 Responses to A Moral Dilemma

  1. Lynne says:

    You have an unenviable task of choosing who to save and who not to. It is not your fault if you have no space. I know it won’t feel like that if you were to find that you turned a cat away and later you find out something bad has happened to it, but the responsibility of that does not lie at your door. You do everything you are able to do, if fact you do more than could ever be expected of one small rescue.

    I would love to have new kitties, and my house feels empty with out kitties being little munkypunks in it, but I don’t have the money to home any at the moment, and until my circumstances change I will not be inviting any cats to live with me. If only more people would realise the commitment taking a pet into your family is and should be, there wouldn’t be so many needing rescuing. It is a life long commitment. You are right in saying so many people see pets as disposable. Until we change peoples perception, this problem is only going to grow and grow.

  2. Allie says:

    Agree 100%. You do an amazing job & there is only so much you can do. It’s the irresponsible people taking the pets who are the problem. People need educated about owning animals & realise just how much of a commitment it is.

    Keep up the amazing work – at least with your help many of them do have a bright future they otherwise wouldn’t have.

  3. Anne says:

    I’m also with you 100%! I too foster kittens at our local shelter, and sometimes get angry at the various reasons why animals have to be euthnized and that those who are responsible (at least in part – e.g. folks who don’t spay/neuter their cats, folks who get a cat for their child, which scratches the baby, and then want to get rid of the cat, etc…) aren’t make 100% aware that their actions mean death to the animal! Or if their animal has a good adoption chance, another animal will have to die if the shelter is full. I get angry at the ‘throw-away’ society’s treatment of animals not just pets. Today is a bad day, as I have a very sick kitten (found this post while searching for information on how to treat her, since the shelter has said they’d euthanize if it needed extensive treatment). Angry. Frustrated. Sad.

    However, then I look at the other foster ‘parents’ and I see that there are people who are so amazing and give up so much to help. And I find encouragement in that. I also try to remind myself of the cats that I have saved, although I lost some too. And that they wouldn’t have lived, if I hadn’t stepped in. And that too keeps me going.

    I hope you will continue to foster and work with your local shelter, despite the obvious frustrations we all experience doing this kind of thing. Sending you strength.


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