Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Killing cats more humane than TNR?

As ludicrous as this statement sounds to me, some well-meaning people think that killing healthy cats is more humane than TNR. One of our volunteers is going down to check today because this woman emailed to say there was a stray that liked to sit in her condominium carpark. The cat is fine - healthy, friendly and quite happy according to her. However she thought the tail might have been run over. She wants to put the cat in a shelter. When I explained there were no shelters, she said she thought it might be more humane to put this cat down because it might get run over. After speaking with her, she said she only saw the cat in the carpark perhaps one of the four times she sees the cat, but she said that to avoid a traumatic death, it might be better to consider putting the cat down. She cannot take it in, nor rehome it, nor change the feeding spot because she says she is not looking after it.

Obviously if the worry that the cat may get killed, relocation or changing the cat's feeding spot is the first option, which is what the volunteer will look into (as well as the tail). However, killing a healthy cat because one day it might get killed just makes no sense to me. If it lives on the street, it has a 50-50 chance of survival, and has as good a life as it can. If it's put down though, it's 100% certain that it's dead as a doornail!

It would be less worrying to think that this is what a few individuals feel, but some of the international animal welfare organisations do not support TNR for this very reason - ie that the cat may die on the street, so it is better to give it a 'humane' death. Fortunately every local welfare group here is a strong supporter of TNR.

Around Chinese New Year, I got an email from one of the employees from an international group in town for a visit. They found a stray and said he looked injured, so we arranged for him to be taken to the vet. They dropped the cat off and there was some dispute over what to do with him, so Jolanda went down. Apparently, they were suggesting that, even though the vet gave him a clean bill of health, he should be euthanised. According to Jolanda, they said if he had no fixed caregiver, then it might be better to save him from a life on the streets if he could not be adopted out. Jolanda told them she would take over from there and they left.

The cat was a handsome male, two to three years old, and not a good candidate for adoption based on his age, but could still have a good life on the street. The two people we spoke to gave us very vague directions on where his territory was, and we were quite worried about finding the right place, but after walking around, we found it. The people who worked around there said they realised he was missing as they had been feeding him, though they had not sterilised him (which we had done at the vet).

When we released him, it was so clear it was his home - he sauntered off into an alley and lay down to relax. Crueler to let him live out his natural life in his territory - I don't think so.

We are too presumptuous sometimes - if the cat has lived a good life for two to three years, it clearly CAN survive. Why should we come along and say it can't? Of course, we want every cat to have a home eventually, but there are too many strays out there right now and rehoming all of them is not an option. Sterilisation is (she repeats, ad nauseum).


Anonymous siew kah said...

Your stories remind me of a movie I saw some time ago on Nazi Germany. In one of the footages, a young girl showed her mother a picture of girl on crutches, and said that it would have been more humane for the girl in the photo to be put to death because she would have lived a miserable life.

A few days ago, I spoke to a woman whose dog was beginning to develop some disability in his legs. She was considering putting the dog to death not because he was in pain (which he wasn't) but because the dog was no longer fun to be with and she did not want the responsibility of taking care of a sick dog. So this is what a dog has become - a property that can be discarded when he no longer serves the purpose for which he was acquired in the first place.

30/4/05 10:13 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Poor dog - did you manage to convince her not to?

1/5/05 2:29 AM  
Anonymous siew kah said...

I stated my position and I hope she understood.

2/5/05 12:52 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Good work Siew Kah - at least talking to her may make her re-think it.

2/5/05 3:15 PM  

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