Thursday, December 8, 2011

How the Animal Police Hurt Cats and Dogs

As regular readers know, the blogger known as Ozarque is one of three older women I'd describe as mentors. (The other two are the late Bonnie Prudden and my too often silent partner here, Grandma Bonnie Peters.) Earlier this year, Ozarque retired even from blogging...just before the tornado passed by her neighborhood. I started watching her online activities more closely, and checking out the links at her blog, which I'd been meaning to do for years. One of those links led to this true story of an endangered cat:

Idiotgrrl, who is definitely not Laurie Notaro and is also known as Grey Badger, authorized me to post this since her endangered feral friend has by now become tame enough to accept basic veterinary care. (Buster, incidentally, shares a name with one of the most pampered Listening Pets I know--not a Cat Sanctuary cat, but a friend's pet.)

Feral cats face real danger in many parts of North America these days, since the Humane Cat Genocide Society have been aggressively pushing a policy that dictates that any cat they get their hands on, if not proved to be someone's pet, must be "humanely" slaughtered. (Not even used for medical research, which would at least be of some benefit to humans, albeit equally cruel to cats; they want the bodies to be "respectfully" wasted.) And in fact, (a) truly feral cats can become lovable pets, given enough time, patience, and respect; and (b) cats who are and have always been house pets can act as if they were feral when exposed to strangers, especially "humane rescuers" whose idea of testing them for pettability involves taunting them with food when they're hungry.

I wonder whether any Cat Sanctuary cat would ever have met the Humane Cat Genocide Society's criteria for having been a pet. Some of them were born in my home; none of them was confined to the house for longer than a few weeks at a time, and some never spent a night inside the house. Even Magic, who was friendly and confident with most strangers of all species, didn't like vets. Minnie's exaggerated expression of panic when any stranger came near may have been a little more of an act put on for my benefit than a real phobia of strangers, but she definitely didn't want anything to do with humans other than me and one Cat Sanctuary volunteer. Mogwai, Grayzel, and Bisquit have always recognized our volunteers (and reward the ones who've most often brought them food treats with extra affection), and they've also nonverbally told me when any other humans approach the house...and make it clear that they want these humans sent away! While a few of the kittens who were born at the Cat Sanctuary have liked human attention in general, most are shy with strangers; all of Bisquit's kittens have acted very unfriendly, hissing and spitting, a few of them even biting, when approached by new people...and Candice, who does solicit my attention, is a non-cuddler who tolerates, but dislikes, being held even by me.

While his own human was living, the older male cat I called Graybeau (since Graybelle brought him to the Cat Sanctuary) never came within ten yards of me. The day after his human (also an older male) died, Graybeau moved into the Cat Sanctuary, where his "boarder" relationship with me was similar to Buster's relationship with Idiotgrrl. By this time Graybeau was obviously a senior cat with chronic headaches. He usually liked having his back scratched, but would slap me if I touched his head or moved past his bleary eyes...and he liked to lurk under the porch steps! This was obviously a symptom of pain, because he was a sweet, kind, social cat who tried to be a good father to his kittens, but he'd slap them if they moved close to his bleary eyes, too. And sometimes he felt feverish. So I trapped him and sent him into town to find out whether veterinary care would help, and found that, unfortunately, he was already past help. But I would rather have paid for medication, and spent time trying to nurse him back to health, if possible, than let him be killed just because he'd been a one-man cat and lost that one man.

Readers, please don't fall for the Humane Cat Genocide Society propaganda that every cat you see outdoors is feral (even if it avoids you), or that every truly feral cat (the ones that are always outdoors and tend to grow thinner and less healthy over time) is a dangerous wild creature who will never be a pet. Given time to be your friends first, feral cats can become very loving and rewarding pets. The mere fact that they're able to live independently shows that they're tougher, smarter, and often more social than the average cat, so if you want a pet who has a mind of its own, a feral cat you've rescued is an excellent candidate.