Sunday, January 22, 2012

If you have to give up a pet, please take them to a no kill shelter

As the snow fell over the past several days, my cat Kady started to go to the window and cry. This is unusual for her and when I rolled over to her, I realized why. She was staring out at the snow and shaking. She spent last winter outside in one of the worst winters ever after being abandoned.

I diverted her attention away from the window and she immediately calmed down. Right now she spends most of her time playing with toys and, typical kitten-style, plays until she's exhausted and then takes a nap. Although technically she's not a kitten (she must be at least over a year old), she is going through her kitten stage now which is fun to watch.

As she played with her toys, I remembered that my other young rescue kitty, Riley, who is about a year and a half old now, went through this every time it rained. He would sit at the window and cry. He was abandoned outside an apartment complex overnight when he was four months old and showed up terrified on someone's doorstep. They immediately called the shelter. Nevertheless, when I took him in shortly afterwards, he was almost catatonic - wouldn't move from my lap and shook whenever I put him down. After a week or so, he was able to be left on his own but he clung to me for months.

Why am I writing this? I'd just like to spread the word that there are lots of no kill animal shelters now. If you have to give up a pet, please take it to a no kill shelter rather than abandon it outside. Leaving a pet outside who isn't used to it, even if they do survive, leaves them with all kinds of problems - health and otherwise, that make it even more difficult to get them adopted. Kady has arthritis, almost no teeth and permanent leg and pelvic injuries from being hit by a car even though she's barely over a year old. Riley, as much as I love him, was difficult to adopt because he needed constant human attention for a long time.

They are, by far, a few of the sweetest pets I've ever shared a home with and worth every moment and resource I've given them. But a lot of their suffering could have been avoided if they had been put into a shelter rather than abandoned outside.

For a list of no kill animal shelters, click here.

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