Four feral kittens
On October 18, 2007, I wrote a blog about four wild kittens spotted behind a McDonald’s. My old blog is long gone now, but the story is worth repeating. It’s one of those little incidents I didn’t remember at all until I found it again…
I’m consistently bothered by the number of animals killed by cars everyday. It has become even more evident to me since we moved out of the city (where there are plenty of animal deaths on roadways) to a rural area (where there are even more).
Last night, we saw four feral kittens wandering around in some shrubs behind a McDonald’s. They looked like they were having a lot of fun competing for the endless supply of tasty crickets. Nothing is more natural than a feral cat chasing its prey in one of our nation’s back alleys. But something still doesn’t seem right about that image.
Four feral kittens spotted today means hundreds more at that location by next year… but you’ll never see hundreds there. A few move on; many are killed by cars and other predators. Perhaps — and this is a long shot — a few are rescued. The fact that they are even there in the first place is evidence that we don’t value our pets enough to keep them from creating populations of unwanted offspring.
Our home is full of two humans and four cats, so rescuing more animals to include in our household can’t happen. So what should I have done about those four little feral cats? What would you have done? If not you or me, who? Calling the local animal control department would get the problem out of sight (if they bother to respond), but it would also mean almost certain death for the kittens. The term “animal shelter” is a misnomer. Most kill more than 90 percent of the animals they shelter. And if the cats are too feral to socialize with humans, their fate is even more certain. In the McDonald’s parking lot, they have a chance at survival, but what kind of life is it really? There isn’t a no-kill shelter around that area, and we didn’t have an appointment (which many no-kill shelters require) anyway.
Capturing feral animals is cruel. Looking the other way while kittens play on a surface meant for quickly-rolling, huge steel machines is cruel, too. What should one do?
After waiting in the drive-thru much longer than I should have, I drove off with the wrong beverage, wishing I hadn’t stopped at all.