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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Responsibility and Pets

Yesterday we took my 8 month old kitten, Gimli, down to our vet and had him neurtered.  Why did we wait until now?  Long story. All of which I will tell you right now.

Just after Christmas my husband drove me to work. The weather was wet and icy and it was freezing and so I couldn't ride.  I got to the office and there was a small, orange tabby kitten right outside the door and some stupid girl with her cell phone out while the cat, who had pretty obvious problems was winding its way through her legs.  It was a sign from God, who knows I hold orange tabbies as extra special.  I grabbed the little fur covered bag of bones who had something frozen around its eyes and put it in my husband's pick up.  I just told him it was a sign from God, take it home and call the vet for an appointment.

I had planned to name the cat Piano since my husband had made a promise, in front of my family, over a year before, that he would buy me a piano rather than letting me get a cat.  The Y chromosomes who live in my house did not like that constant smack in the face of male broken promises so my youngest son suggested "Gimli" and it stuck.

Gimli was very sick, the vet told us the next morning.  He had severe bronchitis and inflammation of the eyes, unknown cause, but several feline viruses were put up the flagpole and eventually, expensively, eliminated.  Apparently he has allergies.  Which I find ironically hilarious.  He was also severely malnourished and nearly starved to death.  According to his teeth he was 4 months old. At some point he had broken one, maybe two ribs and they had not healed cleanly. Every time I think about it I get enraged and then I want to cry.  If someone had done this to a puppy or a child...

We've spent the past 4 months undoing all of the damaged of the first four months of Gimli's short life.  He was finally declared healthy enough, received his shots and then yesterday he got the snip.  Now, my husband, who usually refuses to drop the males off at the vet for the snip, but courageously offers to pick them up (thus saving them, but tragically, too late) and get them home when they got fixed, said he would take Gimli up to the vet as he is on vacation this week. This same man spent all day, Easter Sunday, chasing the cat around the house, making scissor motions with his fingers, giggling and saying, "snip snip".  Yes, this is the kind of sober and uplifting behavior that reigns in my household.

We took Gimli up at 7:30. He was not happy to be in the cat carrier.  He hates that thing since it always means a trip to the vet for him where he will be poked, prodded and stuck with a needle.  He's had a lot of that in the past 4 months so he now actually growls when we bring it out.  He was home at 4:30 and showed a determination not seen outside the toddler years to do everything the vet had just told us not to let him do.  Even though his surgery had been in the morning, he was still in the "Oooo the colors!" stage of recovery.  He's used to me making him ignore parts of his body that he wants to lick or inspect often, so keeping him away from his stitches without the use of e-collar has not been hard.  I expect I will spend a lot of my time in my bedroom this week, lying down reading in an attempt to keep him quiet.  We're also used to this.

Every single pet I've had has been neutered.  Every. Single. One.  Even my purebreds who were out of standard.  Simply put, there are so many unwanted animals out there that there is no justification for bringing in more, even for a profit margin.

I keep going back in my head to the state of Gimli when I found him.  There is the primary reason for neutering your animals, so kittens like Gimli are not abuse and starved then abandoned to die.  He did not come from feral stock as he came to me which connotes a familiarity with humans.  We have a cat Mika who came from feral stock and she despises humans, despite the fact that I've had her since she was six weeks old.  She is not a friendly or cuddly kitten.  We love her and just let her be her. So yes, I know the difference well.

These are the facts, folks, if you do not neuter your pet they will not be happy or live long.  When they are not neutered they spend their entire lives looking only to mate. That is it.  They mate, have litters and die.  That is it.  It's not cute, it's not "nature".  We domesticated these animals, made them dependent upon us so that they would protect and hunt for us.  Our responsibility is easy, we make sure they are fed and sheltered and for the LOVE OF GOD, keep them happy being with us.  They didn't seek out the relationship, WE did, so yes, it is our responsibility.  If it makes them happier,  long term and they live longer with us, what is your lazy, dumb assed justification as to why your cat it still pumping out kittens you keep trying to hand off around the neighborhood?  The Animal Birth Control Clinics around the country are busy neutering animals, even doing free feral neuterings.  What the fuck is your stupid excuse for NOT doing it?

I donate to several animal shelters in my area.  I do so because I love that some people are willing to care for all of the abandoned animals prevalent in our state.  I put my money into the two no-kill shelters here in the Waco area. They are the ones I went to first when my cat Whistler went missing.  They called me every time they got an orange tabby in. They Waco Humane Society Shelter is like walking through a freakin Nazi Death Camp.  It's so depressing, the animals are depressed and the spectre of death is palpable.  I keep telling folks to visit there if they are looking to adopt an animal.  They have daily announcements on their Facebook page on how many they've taken in, how many reclaimed by their owners and how many adoptions.  They post tons of pictures, stats, every single day, trying to get people to come and adopt the animals so they don't have to kill them.

First person who says adoption is expensive I will slap.  I've rescued animals and paid thousands of dollars getting them well, neutered and registered with my local municipality.  I've paid far more for Gimli than if I'd paid the $50 to adopt an animal at any of the shelters here and gotten a neutered and chipped pet.  I found out yesterday that our city now requires all pets to be neutered and chipped if you do not have a breeders license.  We won't get into the irregularity of some city councilman telling me what to do with my pet.  Because you cannot legislate morality.  It is moral to get your pet neutered. The chipping is a good idea because our dog catcher just takes the pet home if he gets a chip hit.  None of our pets are allowed out of our yard without being on a leash, and the cats not allowed outside at all.  However, I do see a good argument for getting them all chipped.  Because, God forbid, any of them get lost, I would want to know that they will be returned to us.  Why?  Because our German Shepherd came to us, having been abandoned out in the middle of nowhere, Central Texas.  He was large, lop-eared and riddled with worms.  He's the biggest, dumbest play puppy in existence and I can't imagine life without him.  He had been beaten for what I can only guess is a human being's impatience with his zeal for play.  It took us nearly a year before my husband could take his belt off anywhere around the dog.  He was an escape artist as well, climbing up our wisteria to jump the fence and just run off. The local dog catcher put up with him and happily brought him back home each time he got out.  A quick snip after a long wait at the Animal Birth Control clinic cured his wanderlust.

It's hot here in the summer.  Too hot for dogs to stay in the animal control truck. The dog catchers are all too happy to return a pet to its rightful owners when they can.  If not it's a quick trip to the human society shelter.  Up north it's too cold in the winter and I'm pretty sure the dog catchers feel the same way.

I neuter my pets because I'm incredibly selfish and want my happiness.  My happiness is having my pets with me for a long time and providing me with hours of laughter and play.  They keep me young and they are more than willing to snuggle up with me when I'm cold. So yes, my personal responsibility is all about me.  Make your relationship with your pet all about you.

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