Making a contract…

When so many are in need, how does one decide who to care for? It’s not easy.

Cassidy was a middle-aged cat that developed cancer.

Her owner took her to a vet and requested euthanasia.

It happened to be our vet, and he could not bring himself to put such a beautiful creature to sleep, given that she was not, at that time suffering in any way. In fact she appeared then to be cancer-free.

The owner happily signed over ownership. I did not meet her or ever hear the reason for giving up the cat.

Perhaps it was knowing that future medical treatment would be prohibitively expensive.

Perhaps the owner herself was ill.

People surrender their animals for many reasons.

At least Cassidy’s owner did not abandon her in the street or leave her behind in a garden.

Grant came home and told me that we had been appointed Cassidy’s new Care-givers.

The last thing I really needed was a cat with potential health problems.

For one thing, there were the bills. I had no source of support for my foster-cat venture.

And, who was going to adopt an aging”cancer” cat?

I was not even given the chance to refuse.

Most likely, I would not have, but it’s nice to be asked.

Somehow, most of my fosters seemed to just “arrive.”

Hmmm.

Well, Cassidy was beautiful and how can you not feel empathy for a creature that has been abandoned because they were ill?

Many people simply leave a pet behind when they are “done” with it, for whatever reason. Which means that whoever rescues it (if indeed they do) has to have the animal screened by a vet and re-tested for a diagnosis.

All of this adds up to a huge expense, just to take the animal in, before you even add the expense of more food and ask whether you really have room for another.

At least with Cassidy, we already knew her medical condition. Our vet had several cats that lived at the practice and maybe that was where they planned to keep Cassidy. After all, she would have been in the perfect place to have her condition monitored.

But I think Grant took a look at her beautiful face and decided she deserved a proper home, which against the odds, she got.

Cassidy’s normal perch was at the top of one of the “trees” in our big room. Emily used to sit adjacent to her, atop the other tree, two “grande dames” contemplating one another.

Sometimes people would come by to look at the fosters and most of the cats were curious, if not quite friendly.

Not Cassidy. She stayed firmly wedged in her tree-top.

She would not come down for anyone. She might sniff their hand, but she just was not interested.

Then one day, an older couple came by to meet Emily. As they walked into the big room, Cassidy immediately descended from her perch and marched up to the lady as if she recognized her.

You could almost hear her ask “where have you been? I’ve been waiting.”

It turned out the lady was also a cancer survivor. Cassidy went off to a very loving home and we were delighted for her. The lady was thrilled.

The expense of caring for animals really is a problem and it is getting worse. I dread to think what is happening with animals in the middle of the current crisis.

What are people to do?

How much is too much?

How can we give care to animals when so many people are in need? Well, is it the fault of the animals that we humans are in such a mess? I think not. They deserve care too. Many have lost their owners and who knows what is happening to those?

Is it right to turn animals over to crowded shelters that are already stretched and stressed? In the end the animal very likely will be euthanized even though you may think you did the right thing.

If you decide to just abandon the animal in the hope it will survive, it may, but in what horrible circumstance? You can be sure it will come to a bad end.

I don’t have any answers. Except that people need to take better responsibility for the animals in their care. They need to be neutered. Just as there are too many people on the planet, there are already too many cats and dogs. How awful that they come to this world just to exist in dreadful shelters until they are killed.

Puppy mills of course are the most outrageous offenders. They should not exist.

Moral, responsible breeders are something different, of course. There is a need for some pure bred dogs and one hopes that anyone who meets the expense of acquiring such a creature will have every intention of keeping it and looking after it’s welfare.

That said, there are many pure bred animals in shelters which is heart breaking.

I suppose what I am saying is that people should consider the responsibilities of animal ownership a little more carefully before taking in a dog or cat or any other animal and they should draw up a mental contract with the animal. “I will care for you, no matter what and if I can no longer keep you, I will find you another home.”

Personally, I would rather starve than give up any of the cats in my care, but I realize this is not generally considered a sensible option.

Emily did eventually also get adopted by just the right person. Sometimes things work out.

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