2008-05-29 / Letters to the Editor

Adopt an unwanted cat this month

Many of us are fortunate enough to have the companionship of a pet. As animal guardians, we take full responsibility for them, ensuring their health, safety and well-being. Sadly, countless animals still endure a life void of the mere necessities of food, water and shelter. Many are adult animals whose families no longer want them or who can no longer care for them. Others are kittens and puppies born because owners did not have their pets spayed or neutered.

Rarely surviving for more than a few years on their own, these animals die painfully by abuse, starvation, or disease. Some end up at the local animal shelter. Typically these animals have litters of their own, bringing more unwanted animals into the world. Such is the sad truth of the pet overpopulation.

I have seen the suffering of these animals and the challenges that shelter workers face on a daily basis. They are forced to euthanize one animal after another due to our society's carelessness. Living creatures have become disposable items to be cuddled when cute and abandoned when they become inconvenient. Such disregard for animal life pervades and erodes our culture. As members of the community, we can make a difference.

The single most important thing we can do to end the abuse of companion animals and the killing of unwanted cats and dogs is to spay or neuter our pets. Please consider the facts: Every day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born in this country. In seven years, one female cat and her kittens can produce 420,000 cats. In six years, one female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies. An estimated 6 million cats, dogs, rabbits and other animals are destroyed in animal shelters throughout the U.S. each year. Countless more suffer on city streets, because there are simply not enough loving homes for them all.

Spaying and neutering can also prevent certain types of cancer and other diseases, allowing cats and dogs to live longer and happier lives. With all the love and happiness our animal companions give to us, it is a small price to pay for the health of your pet and the prevention of unwanted kittens and puppies.

June is Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month. Please consider adopting a cat from your local animal shelter or rescue group this month and give a home to an animal in need - there is a loveable pet just waiting to join your family.

Visit www.petfinder.com for a comprehensive list of adoptable animals and shelters in your area. Local groups in New England have established low-cost spay/ neuter programs that make the surgery affordable. To find a lowcost program near you, call your local humane society or shelter, or call toll-free (800) 248-SPAY or visit www.spayusa.org. Alexandra Welch-Zerba ASPCA

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