Monday, June 04, 2007


I was just speaking to a caregiver who has a difficult (but by no means unfamiliar) case in her area. There is a woman who keeps taking in kittens especially into her flat and then leaving them downstairs when they are old enough or she doesn't want them anymore.

Another caregiver used to help to rehome them but got tired of helping this woman because as she told the woman, everytime she took one lot of kittens away, the woman would just help herself to another lot. After that she proceeded to just dump the cats.

The first caregiver I spoke to was at her wit's end. She said that the woman came by today and said that she has a new grandchild so will be getting rid of her existing cats. The caregiver told her that the cats are ill suited to survive in a new, unfamiliar environment. In addition, they add to the population of the area. She asked the woman to consider the welfare of the cats.

The woman apparently told her that it was up to the fate of the cats. The woman said she did not even know what her own fate would be, so there is nothing she can do.

The thing is, obviously she already meddled with the cats' and kittens' fate if that's what you want to call it, when she took them in. If she had really left it to fate, then she should have left them where they were originally.

Many of these people mean well. I spoke to a woman the other day who said she takes in cats when she sees them sitting in drains or in dangerous spots. I understand why she did it but I asked her what she planned to do in the long run. I told her that for every cat she picks up, she should consider that it will be a 15 year committment on her part and if she's willing to take that on. Too often people take them in as cute kittens, and wait till too late to rehome, and then release the cat back out on the street, by which time many cannot cope or get run off the territory by existing cats.



Blogger Surferket said...

Speaking of fate, I brought Princess home from my work place when she gave birth to 2 kittens. For the past 2 years none of her litter had survived past their 1st month w/o being killed. I work in a anti-cat-hostile environment.
It's 2 weeks now and both mother and kittens are doing well. If I'd not done so, then "fate" would surely means the death of those 2 kittens.

4/6/07 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attitude of care-givers are different. One cares for long-term survival of cats & their welfare; the other only for as long as it is to her convenience & oblivious of hardship/suffering of cats once dumped.

Hard to change attitude as many people live for the day/week/mth/year so they cannot imagine a 10yr future for cats.

4/6/07 4:07 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

surferket - glad you have taken them home and will be looking after them from now on. Would you consider starting up a TNRM programme? I know a lot of people think there is an anti-cat hostile attitude but honestly, in the vast majority of cases, I've found people don't dislike the cats, but dislike problems that they feel have arisen due to the presence of the cats.

One other thing - kitten mortality rate is actually quite high. Yskat had just sent me an email saying that this afternoon.

Now I'm no expert on fate - but what I do know is that often we can and do change outcomes by our actions. You chose to help those cats out. Sometimes I think people use fate to justify their own inaction or feelings of guilt- ie they're 'fated' to die. You didn't let that stop you from wanting to help them.

Anonymous - very true.

4/6/07 5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

End of the day fate or no fate, it is something called responsibility. You want to help then you help all the way. It means if you want to take home that "cute" kitten then you jolly well be prepared to look after it till it passes on of old age or find it a good home.

Sad to say many people dont do that, they let a moment of soft heartness allow them to bring home that kitten and never think of keeping it long term. Many of them will tell you I cant keep it at home! But it looks so pitiful... Result? Cat is dumped when it is no longer cute and when it has not been properly socialized and have behavioural problems making it hard to be adopted.

So once again it is not about fate but about being responsible. As a Chinese saying goes, You send Buddha off, you send him all the way. Not half way and half hearted. In the end the cats suffer for it.

4/6/07 5:52 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Well said Anonymous - because people forget that those two minutes of feeling sorry for the cat determines the rest of the cat's life. The feeling sorry for the cat has to be backed up with some concrete action.

4/6/07 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

perhaps these ppl think that if they keep a kitten till it grows older, it will be better able to fend for itself. they don't realise that in the process the cat grows dependent on them physically and emotionally till it becomes an act of cruelty to let them go in that state.

i am also not an expert on the concept of fate but i do know that it is often used to justify acts of thoughtlessness, selfishness, irresponsibility, inertia and sometimes even outright cruelty.

4/6/07 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had kittens dumped along my feeding route which someone "nicely" left for me. I ignored the kittens as I knew I really couldn't help. But I bave been blamed for not helping the helpless kitties in such situations as if I am in the wrong. I hope the cat lovers can understand that some people can only do so much and do not go around ticking people off.

5/6/07 12:50 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - how about asking these people who are criticising you to help out? Certainly they wouldn't object to helping out in the colony or adopting the cats themselves since they're so concerned.

5/6/07 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tx Dawn, i'll do just that next time. Actually i didn't want to group myself like those "so concerned" people. No wonder cat lovers are so often termed "CRAZY cat people". I have never imagined the term could be so apt for some, really.. sadly...

6/6/07 12:45 PM  

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