Most people are repulsed at the idea of kittens being euthanized in animals shelters, yet many are. Who is to blame? Is it the shelter staff, or is it you?
In animal shelters all around the world millions upon millions of kittens are euthanized every year. In the United States alone over 4 million pets are euthanized in shelters, most of these are cats, and many of the cats are under the age of one year old – in other words – kittens.
When I worked at an animal shelter we had a veterinarian come in once a week to euthanize excess pets. We never refused any animal brought to us, and had more animals brought to us in a week than we were able to adopt out or have claimed by their owners. There were many times we euthanized kittens, sometimes 30 or more in a day.The staff was nearly always blamed for “killing kittens” but I would like to point the finger in another direction.
The driving force behind kitten killing is that people are allowing their cats to breed without having guaranteed homes for the resulting kittens first.
If a cat has a litter of four kittens, and all of those kittens find homes, it means the shelter has four kittens that will not find homes. The problem is compounded if those kittens are not spayed or neutered and in turn have other kittens.
It is rather ironic that people give kittens away “Free to Good Home” but they were not a good home themselves – if they were – their cat would not have gotten pregnant. As well few people do proper checks to ensure that these new owners really are “Good Homes”.
Reputable breeders first take their cats to shows to prove they are worth breeding, they then line up a waiting list of interested buyers, and when they sell the kittens they so do with a contract that the breeder will take back any kitten during its lifetime if they owner cannot care for it.
If you have a cat who is not fixed (spayed or neutered) it should not be allowed outdoors. If you have a female cat who does become pregnant you should have her spayed (thus aborting the litter), this sounds cruel but is less severe than killing an older kitten.
If your cat has had kittens and you are in the process of “giving them away” be sure to check that the new owner is a good home – insist they keep the kitten indoors only until it is spayed or neutered. Keep your own cat indoors until she is spayed.
Surrendering kittens to the shelter is a good option, although there may be no guarantee they will find homes. If put for adoption the shelter will follow up to make sure the kittens go to good homes, and are fixed, to reduce the numbers of unwanted cats in the long term.
To make things perfectly clear, if you ever allowed your cat to have kittens, and especially if you did not ensure all those kittens were spayed or neutered, you are the reason shelters are forced to euthanize kittens. Every kitten of yours that found a home – took a home away from another kitten.
Life and Death of a Mother Cat – a Plea for people to consider adopting adult cats too.
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Published in: Pets