Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Rescue considerations

We have been getting a few requests for reimbursements for treatment of cats for a variety of problems. The Society generally does not reimburse and right now, with the clinic coming up, we have to be even more careful with the money we spend.

I realise that a lot of people understandably want to save every cat out there, especially people who are fairly new to rescue work. They are kind souls who are trying to do everything to save every cat, but the sad truth is that not every cat can be saved.

This is a really difficult decision to make and everyone of course has to come to a decision that they can live with, all of which are deserving of respect as long as the cat's welfare is always paramount. I believe however there are several factors to consider when the cat is being rescued/saved (leaving aside religious beliefs) :-

1. What sort of life will the cat lead after - will it be able to sleep/eat/play and live a normal life? This could include cats with various handicaps who are able to still live normally and not be subject to a life of perpetual suffering after;
2. Where will the cat go? Is the caregiver going to take it in? I wrote earlier about how hard it is to find adoptive homes - for handicapped/injured/sick cats, multiply that by ten. If the cat is for example, an abuse case going back on the street again only to get abused or killed, then what is the point? The cat has to be taken in by the caregiver and if they are not prepared to do so, then the chances of finding the cat a permanent home are very slim;
3. What is the best course of treatment for the cat? This depends on what the vet suggests - and the vet is the best person to advice you on the course of treatment;
4. Is the caregiver able to give appropriate medical care? I've seen caregivers unable to properly look after kittens and cats, take in even more rescue cases only to have most of them die because of pre-existing diseases within their homes which they do not have the resources to treat. A life on the streets is definitely better than almost certain death in these homes;
5. Can the caregiver afford medical treatment? Again taking in a cat that you cannot afford to treat means the cat is going to suffer and die. In addition to the cost of paying for that cat, the opportunity cost is saving many more cats out there. For example, if you spend $1000 on one cat, you could have sterilised at least 20 cats. These 20 cats will then not reproduce. They will be less likely to get cancers and FIV and FELV - they will not spread it on to any offspring, which means that you will actually be saving far more than 20 cats. Unfortunately finances are finite - and as with everything else, resources do have to be allocated in the most efficient manner.

This is why I firmly believe that maximum allocation of resources to sterilisation is the best way of saving the most number of cats. If everyone sterilises, we WILL make a dent and less cats will have to die every year.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

WELL SAID!!!! I have seen people spending a lot of money trying to prolong the lives of dying cats and most of these cats eventually died. And even if they survived, the care giver usually have no time to give them the quality time and care and they have to live the rest of their life either with more medications or in a cage.I feel that they're just prolonging the cat's suffering esp those with cancer. Putting them on drip, force feeding, intravenous injection etc....why don't they just end their sufferings??

14/4/05 12:13 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks for the kind words - the post is not to tell people what I think they should do obviously, but just to make people think about it.

14/4/05 7:43 PM  

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