It’s June, so no surprise: My house is abuzz with kittens and moms. The playing is nonstop, and at mealtime, the sound of kittens eating — all that adorable lip smacking — is priceless. Another kitten thing I love is the sneaky side trot, clearly intended to instill fear but always getting a laugh instead. There is a lot to love about kitten season, with one big exception: There are too many cats and kittens in this world!
I read an article recently that estimated the number of street cats in New York City at 500,000, many of them COVID adoptions that failed for economic, housing, and other reasons.
The result is a population explosion in homeless cat colonies in all five boroughs, which means an extra burden for the good people caring for those colonies plus countless annoyed New Yorkers with a NIMBY attitude toward stray felines.
Another article I read talked about a town in Germany that has imposed a temporary lockdown on free-roaming cats to protect various bird species, with big fines for owners who do not comply.
The best response to this complicated, worldwide problem involves a variety of tactics: trap/neuter/return programs, spay/neuter education and low-cost programs, and adoption. And for their sake and the sake of wildlife, we should keep our cats indoors! Period.
I also believe that much suffering could be avoided if responsible adopters got medical insurance for their pets. I get so many requests from people to help them fund their pet’s medical care. I currently have a dog in my program who got hit by a car and the family opted to have him euthanized since they couldn’t afford the life-saving surgery. The hospital called me and now I have a Poodle named Cookie! (Although one of the nurses wants to adopt Cookie, so that’s good!)
It can feel truly hopeless to those on this battle’s front lines. I have so many requests filling my inbox about cats about to give birth or from people who can no longer care for their cats. And there are so many litters of kittens in need!
But when we see families like Mama Garden’s saved from a brutal life on the streets, it just makes sense to do whatever you can. As the saying goes, “Saving one animal won’t change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal.” In Mama Garden’s case, that’s seven worlds saved, nurtured, and loved.