michelel72: Winry (Cat-Winry-Nesting)
Sophie went home yesterday.

I don't know how much of this I've ever mentioned around here, if any of it, so a quick summary: In about November 2011, [personal profile] violetcheetah and I started volunteering at a private, no-kill cat shelter. (Late in the summer, we were brought onto the Board of Directors as well.) We have too many cats, but folks do come in seeking cats, and on good weekends we send one or two cats to a new home.

It's hard, sometimes, because it's easy to get attached. I've only adopted one cat from the shelter (so far; I will be strong!), but I've had several favorites leave, and I miss them quite a lot. It's the right move, and they're almost certainly happier in a home with a family, and I'm happy for them ... but.

Cut for length and a medical digression ... )
michelel72: Winry (Cat-Winry-Nesting)
Little Cindy descends the stairs, rubbing her eyes. It's Christmas morning! And there, underneath the tree ...

"A puppy!" or "A kitten!" An adorable little pet, complete with a bow around the neck. Cindy is delighted for an entire hour.

Two weeks later, no one's happy. The puppy chews, the kitten scratches. Neither reacts well to being squeezed too hard; sometimes one will nip. No one wants to bother spending time on the play the kitten needs or taking the dog on required walks. Little baby Jimmy is possibly allergic, and Dad kind of hates that damn animal, and Mom is annoyed that what she hoped would be a lap pet really isn't. The adults resent how much money the damn thing costs, and that's even considering that they would never spend a dime on medical care because it's "just an animal".

Six months later the pet is abandoned in a box in a swamp in the country, one day away from being a coyote's breakfast. Or wandering the streets, pregnant. Or run over by a car. Or taken to the vet to be "put to sleep" because it's just too expensive and inconvenient, so might as well kill it for those sins, but only by proxy and with euphemisms.

Don't do this. Don't be that person. I like to think anyone who would read my journal already knows better, but a reminder is worthwhile. Companion animals shouldn't be given as gifts, and they should never be a surprise. Dogs and cats in particular have personalities — some are terrified of adult men, some are lap pets, some bounce off the walls, some need to be the only pet, some have siblings they shouldn't be separated from, some get bored in five seconds and need both companionship and active play, some are great with kids and some terrible, on and on and on.

If you want a pet, approach adoption as the project it is. Meet the prospects, with the whole family. Know what you're looking for. Find out what you're in for. See if there's any chance the animal you're considering can spend a few days in your home as a trial. Recognize that you're adding a developed (or developing) personality to your family, as a lifelong commitment.

And be prepared to spend money. Consumerist reminds us:
According to the ASPCA, a cat costs $1,035 over the first year of ownership and $670 thereafter, while a large dog generates $1,843 in bills the first year and another $875 each subsequent year. The association also warns against the idea of surprising someone with a pet, as these often end up in shelters because the recipients either weren't prepared for pet ownership or are not pleased with your choice of pet.

If any of that sounds too daunting, or if you're at all unsure, buy a video game or a book or a movie instead.

I volunteer at a cat shelter. Trust me, there are more than enough discarded pets to have the place overflowing. (That includes the three beautiful, playful, friendly, precious kittens who were dumped at that aforementioned swamp. I hate people sometimes. Luckily they were discovered before they died — yes, we do have coyotes and foxes, as well as large and vicious racoons many times the size of these kittens.) Some of those cases are unavoidable, such as cases in which the owner died or the family lost their housing and just couldn't find other accomodations that allowed pets. Some are questionable. And some are inexcusable. Don't contribute to this. Please.

(And don't even get me started on Easter chicks and bunnies.)


22 November 2011 03:25 pm
michelel72: (Cat-Winry-Eek)
I don't have enough time in the day. I know I'm not unique in that, at all, but it's still frustrating. I adore my job, but it is ludicrously intense, and I have very little time or energy left for reading and writing.

So I've just volunteered away something like eight hours a week. What was I thinking?

But ... Nine Lives of Norton seems to be well-run and well-organized (certainly better than my city's cat efforts), and they need volunteers for cleaning and feeding and socialization. And I have to do something to counter the criminally negligent and abusive wastes of oxygen out there.

So. Yay volunteerism. (And miserable, painful, lonely death to anyone who would mistreat a companion animal.)
michelel72: (General-Pets-PetrescuePaws)
So Attleboro's Old Barn is closing.

It's such a shame. The owner is a really stand-up guy who has done a lot for pet rescue, and the Barn has been where I buy my surprisingly large quantities of birdseed in bulk. I only just started buying a cat food by Pro Pac from them — it first seemed a cheap way to feed the local strays and donate to the shelter, but it's done wonders for Daisy's digestion as well. And the Barn has been one of the few ways in which I've actually been able to buy local.

Feh. I'll miss the shop and the people.
michelel72: (Cat-Suzie-Yawn)
Sunday, [livejournal.com profile] violetcheetah and I went to a local gardening store, and at their Farmer's Market, she bought a little basket of wee tomatoes. Grape or cherry, I think. They were put in a paper bag, and she ate some at various points throughout the day; I later found the bag in the microwave, where it had been stashed for safekeeping.

(Because I had forgotten, but one of my cats (Gracie, I think) has a strange obsession with tomatoes and played soccer with a couple of full-sized tomatoes I'd left on the counter, months and months ago. The little bite marks were highly entertaining.)

I moved the bag out of the way so I could microwave something and, being me, forgot to put it back in. I forgot until the next morning, when I came into the kitchen and found a wee, muchly perforated tomato on the living room floor, right next to the kitchen. And another by the counter. And another by the table. And the torn bag on the floor near the microwave.

I put the bag, which still had at least a couple of tomatoes within, and the recovered tomatoes in the microwave, to show off later.

Then I found one by the stove. And one somewhere else I've forgotten. I chuckled and put them with the others.

Several hours later, I went to sweep up a patch of dirt that had been tracked into the kitchen, nudged the box the cats play in, and found five more tomatoes nestled between the box and the cabinets.

[livejournal.com profile] violetcheetah sorted through all of them, thought I was silly for tossing the damaged ones outside instead of running them through the disposal, and took the bag of remainders home.

I just found yet another tomato ... in the back bedroom.
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