Ahhh...this is a mini-rant about kittens...
I love them, Romie loves them, who doesn't love a cute little kitten? Apparently, there are those out there that may love them, but not enough. Not enough to take care of them and not dump them out to fend for themselves, with the hope that someone else will feel sorry for them and take up where they so heartlessly left off.
Pet responsibility is always a tough issue, even though it's relatively simple. It does cost money to have pets spayed or neutered, but there are low-cost clinics that will do it for the cost of a few bags of cat or dog food. Why should it be someone else's responsibility to care for your animals or their offspring just because you decided you don't want to?
Earlier this week, Romie and I took our usual walk down the road and as we passed the cemetery, I heard a familiar sound. We stopped, listened, and tried to determine if what we were hearing was a catbird or a cat. "Here kitty, kitty, kitty!" confirmed our fears that it was yet another cat dumped at the cemetery.
As she came bounding across the field from the cemetery toward us, we noticed the resident Great Horned Owl, sitting on top of a large headstone, near where the kitten had come from. We started walking to meet the kitten and the owl took off for the woods. I shivered at the thought that the kitten was nearly that owl's afternoon snack.
Kitty appeared to be about 6-8 weeks old, female, and certainly not afraid of us. She was very affectionate and there was no way we were going to get away from the cemetery without her following us home. We couldn't have left her there anyway. So we took her home, cleaned out her ears, took care of her fleas, and fed her. The other cats were wary of her, but none of them had a major reaction to her.
The next night, we were riding our bikes around the square, and as we approached the cemetery, we had a strange feeling of déjà vu. There was another kitten running toward us, meowing loudly, and looking much like the other kitten's sibling should look. Picking up the purring furball for closer inspection told us it was another female.
We called "Here kitty, kitty, kitty!" several times, to see if there were any other kittens there, but got no results. (Thank goodness!) Maybe whoever left them there didn't want the girls and that was their way of preventing more kittens at their place. Romie said, "Well, we can't leave you down here all by yourself, can we?" so yet another kitten is sleeping in our garage at night.
When we checked with the neighbors across the road to see if these were possibly some of theirs that somehow wandered away, they assured us they weren't and from seeing the cats there, these new little ones didn't look a thing like any of them. They've got the same problem we do, only worse. The cat population there is at an all-time high of 15.
Both our neighbors and we take good care of our cats. They receive all immunizations, are spayed or neutered, and get monthly flea treatments. Our original intent was to have one inside cat and one outside. But due to strays and drop-offs, that population is now at our all-time high of eleven. Yes, we live out in the country and have the space for them, but taking care of that many cats is costly.
Where do you draw the line and what do you do when yet another careless animal owner shirks their responsibilities? We don't have a shelter in our county and the next one over is always full. Would anyone like to adopt one or both of these adorable kittens?