It was 9 p.m. on a Saturday night as Margaret drove home on a side street in the suburbs. Her 8-year-old son had fallen asleep in the back seat and she couldn’t wait to hit the pillow too.
As her mind reminisced about the evening’s activities, she saw a shadow out of the corner of her right eye. She laughed out loud thinking she had seen a ghost, but quickly realized it was a black cat about to dart into the street right in front of her car.
Swerving to avoid the cat, she quickly pulled over. At that moment, she honestly felt annoyed, thinking this was not what she needed. But the feeling left quickly as her son jolted awake and showed concern for the cat. As a parent, teaching empathy had been a high priority for her, so she smiled thinking that her boy was growing up to be the kind, caring son she hoped for.
Pausing for a moment, she wondered how she was going to help this cat. But as soon as she opened the door, the cat ran right to her and jumped in the car. It was as if she was thanking them for rescuing her.
The shelter was closed, so she decided to take the cat home and bring it into the shelter in the morning. Since she already had animals, Margaret confined the cat to a bathroom with food, water and a litter box. Giving her a quick examination, she found a healthy, young cat that had recently had babies.
Her mind raced to those kittens. She wondered if they were still out there or if someone had them. Or, was mom one of those un-spayed cats in the community that was abandoned and not really owned?
Margaret checked back at the site where she had found Ms. Kitty and was never able to locate her kittens. Ms. Kitty went to the shelter, waited her five-day stray time, was sterilized and ultimately adopted into a wonderful home.
So many people adopt cats but don’t take care of them in the way they deserve. Cats aren’t spayed/neutered or vaccinated as frequently as dogs. They are allowed outdoors, putting them at risk of disease, cat fights, cars and wildlife predation. Part of this might be that there are no leash laws for cats, or it might be years of myths and inaccurate information about cats in general.
Right now, shelters are preparing for kitten season. It’s the time of year when thousands of cats are born and then find themselves homeless at the shelter. Help reduce pet overpopulation and be a more responsible cat guardian with the following tips:
- Spay or neuter your cat to reduce the pet’s urge to fight, spray and roam, along with other unwanted behavior issues.
- Keep tame, owned cats inside to prevent the risk of accidents with cars, disease, and exposure to the elements and attacks by other animals. It also helps increase your pet’s lifespan.
- Participate in a TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program if you have feral cats in your community. It can greatly reduce the overpopulation problem.
- Keep an identification tag on your cat’s collar to help get your pet home quickly and safely if they get lost. You can get a microchip at Pasadena Humane on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the walk-in wellness clinic (10am-11:30am; 1pm-1:30pm).
- Provide daily food, water and veterinary care for your cat to foster a loving relationship.
- Welcome a cat into your family by adopting one from the animal shelter. Adoption saves lives.
- Become a foster parent to help care for animals until they are ready for adoption.
- Encourage your children to join the Kids for Animals program to help cats in need.
In an effort to elevate the care of cats in the community, the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA is celebrating Kitten Week, April 23-29, a week-long campaign showing how responsible pet guardianship can reduce pet overpopulation. Activities include free spay/neuter for eligible felines, 2-for-1 cat adoptions, a special foster parent volunteer orientation, an online donation drive and more!
To learn more about cats and how you can get involved, visit pasadenahumane.org/kittenweek.