My friend Jim Thompson wrote recently about the horror of the school shootings and the equally bad horror of abortions. I'm going to take this into a different realm and write about animals, specifically cats.
For starters, my wife and I are cat rescuers. We rescue feral cats, give them shots and at least one vet visit for neuter/spay and then either turn them back loose … or keep them. The local humane shelter (Prattville Autauga Humane Shelter) has recently received a grant to neuter/spay feral cats, which should help us as a community to reduce the stray population. But that's straying from my points.
Last June, we came home from running errands and found a box on our front porch. In it was a 5-day-old kitten. We had two choices. 1 – leave it in the box to die. 2 – start bottle feeding and raising it. We obviously chose the latter, naming her appropriately “Boots.” It was a boot box. Size 9 as I recall.
Anyway, she is now 7 months old, has had shots, is spayed and is healthy as can be expected. We have spent about $400 on her. Now there are cheaper ways to spay or neuter a cat and we have used them. But our preference is our tried and true vets, even though they are more expensive. In the vet business, you usually get what you pay for. And that's OK because sometimes less expensive treatment is all someone can afford. And some treatment is better than no treatment at all.
So $400. And that's just one. We have more than one. Cats, that is. Only two dogs. And no exotics either, though Kathy has had a large bird in a past life.
$400. I guess it would be better if the next person who leaves a kitten on our porch would just attach four $100 bills to the box. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. We walked into this mission (or ministry) with open eyes. We knew what we were doing. One kitten at a time. Kathy prays for each one - every day - by name. And Boots is worth every nickel. So is Priscilla and Willie and … well you get the picture.
Boy is it hard to stay organized when you are writing about something you have emotional ties to. Hard to use good English, too. But I think there are some lessons here.
If you have a heart for stray domestic animals, try to trap them, have them “fixed” and re-release them. It's a bit traumatic at first, but believe me they get over it the next time you come with food!
Find a clinic in your area that spays or neuters for a low fee. For a time in 2011, if you brought a stray in a trap to the clinic in Montgomery, they had grant funds to neuter or spay for free. Today, it is still very inexpensive, actually less than $100.
Check with your local humane shelter and vet and see what they can do for strays. Our vet gives us a discount. And I already mentioned the grant at our shelter.
If you'd rather not be directly involved, buy some pet food for your local shelter. Believe me, an $11 bag of pet food can be a blessing to them.
Gene Canavan is a retired West Point Graduate and Paper Mill Utilities Manager and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA.