Northwest NEWS

October 14, 2002

Editorial

Your pet deserves a "forever home"


   I'll tell you as much as I know about the short lives of two cats I was fortunate to have met in the last 1-12 years. I wish the story was longer, but you will see soon why that would be impossible.
   Max:
   When he appeared in my yard, I estimated his age between one and two years.
   His health appeared to be poor. He lacked nutrition, was full of fleas and had ear mites and worms. In addition, he was underweight, unaltered, had deep puncture wounds on his body and was missing fur.
   Max was obviously seeking a home and looking for food and attention.
   He had been abandoned when his owners moved, leaving him to fend for himself.
   Now meet Gus:
   A veterinarian estimated that Gus was about 2 years old. His belly was extended and he showed a lack of proper nutrition and was suffering from worms, ear mites and fleas.
   It took several weeks for him to learn to trust people. He was also looking for food and attention. Again, he had been abandoned by his previous owner, existing on the streets for over a year.
   These are tragic stories for both Max and Gus. Due to the miserable conditions of existence during their lives, both cats had contracted deadly and highly contagious viruses. Max was diagnosed with Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), and Gus tested positive to Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).
   FIP is spread through saliva at birth from a mother cat to her kitten and unsanitary litter conditions, while FIV is contracted and passed on mostly through an infected cat's blood via a bite wound from free-roaming, fighting, unaltered male cats.
   The deaths of these two cats could have been avoided for many reasons.
   I will list two:
   Neuter/spay your cats (pets)
   Make a commitment for a "forever home" (life time) to your cat (pet)
   It is cruel to animals to neglect or to abandon them. They depend on us to care for them. As a fellow citizen I am asking you to think TWICE before you take in a kitten (cat) or puppy (dog). If you cannot promise them a lifetime commitment, then do not take them in. They deserve nothing less than a stable environment that provides love, shelter and food.
   To Max and Gus: in your loving memory I write this. The people who did not make a commitment to you unnecessarily cut your lifetimes short.
   It is a shame and a pity to see such defenseless animals suffer because of those who do not care. I am going to take the liberty to speak for both of these cats:
   Please do not take me in even though you think I may be cute as a kitten. Will you still want me when I am older and have grown up to be an adult cat? Will you take me to the veterinarian to get me spayed or neutered? Each year will you bring me back to the vet for a health checkup, shots, and general care? Will you feed me daily? Shelter me from harm's way? Love me forever?
   Make a pledge to a pet for a lifetime commitment.
   Brenda Skinner, via e-mail