Pauline Harte

Support zero population growth for pets

Pauline Harte · May 27, 1997

Last week I warned you about a rite of spring called "gardening fever." This week I am going to tell you about another rite of spring that accompanies those ranting wrens, the creeping crab grass and those countless pots of petunias.

As we celebrate the long-awaited springtime delights, I lament the tragic fact that there will once again be a springtime surplus of unwanted puppies and kittens. This is the dark side of spring, due to the fact that so many people still refuse to spay and neuter their pets. Ah, spring! A season of beauty, a season of death. And cats, because they are so easily disposed of, suffer miserably at this time of year.

Did you know that every cat that is left to reproduce unchecked can eventually be responsible for almost 1,000 more cats in a year's time? If only one kitten from your litter becomes an indiscriminate breeder, YOU are personally responsible for a surplus of cats that will also reproduce. And new cycles of surplus animals will begin with every new litter. Most of these cats will die of starvation and disease, and many more will end up put to death at an overloaded animal shelter.

Of course, many of you are saying, "I don't like cats anyhow, so I don't care what happens to them." How cold and black your heart must be to harbor such callousness! We are truly doomed as superior beings if we cannot find enough compassion in our hearts to care for helpless creatures.

Right now, we have two tiny, abandoned kittens that we are bottle-feeding. They were barely able to walk when I first brought them home. My heart will break when I finally have to find them new homes. We have so many cats now, we just can't keep every one that we find.

A couple of years ago, my husband brought home a couple of tiny, half-dead kittens that had been left on the side of a post office driveway. It was August and very hot, and they were left to die. My husband has never been a cat lover, but it was his misfortune to marry a lady who is always finding animals that need rescuing, especially cats. But this wonderful, compassionate man picked those abandoned kittens up off that hot driveway and brought them home, even though he is not a cat lover. This made such an impression on our children. Daddy was a hero!

Each little half-dead kitten weighed no more than a cotton ball. They were three weeks old. After one week of bottle-feeding, they doubled in size and we knew they would make it. Every kid in the neighborhood would come over every day after school and help nurse them, and these same kids helped feed the baby birds that fell out of nests. These helpless animals taught these kids lessons in compassion that could never be learned in books.

When it came time to find our little kittens a new home, guess who couldn't part with them? Besides me and the kids, of course. You guessed it!

My husband took the babies to his business because we were already up to our eyeballs in animals, but it's just too heartbreaking to part with animals you have saved from the jaws of death. Well, "Pumpkin" and "Pepper" are still at my husband's business, and this man who isn't a cat lover allows these two cats to play and sleep on his desk all day.

I've had to part with so many animals that I have rescued. A piece of my heart went with every one of them. My children knew that we would eventually have to part with these rescued animals, but that doesn't make it easier to say goodbye. We've cried a million tears together.

It's about time to go through this again. Our little kittens are almost ready to be placed, and I don't know how I am going to part with them. Even our dog, Star, a half-Chow, half-German Shepherd and rather large, has fallen in love with these little babies. I want to place the kittens together. They fought for life together, and they should live together. I will not separate them.

Please, spay and neuter your pets. Support zero population growth and help stop the misery of surplus animals.

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