The day we learned how many cats are being euthanized was a golden day under a sky where the blue stretched into forever. Greta’s Sunday afternoon plans involved putting more squirrels back into trees and walking up the street to visit her friend Max, the border collie. But sometimes the best-laid plans of dogs are interrupted by their humans.
Greta’s naked ape put her in the car and drove up to a barn that, on ordinary days, houses a riding ring where disabled youngsters learn to ride horses. Once a year, the building fills with dogs, cats, ferrets and their humans, moving from line to line in front of tables and chairs where volunteers write down information about the animals and then veterinarians give them rabies vaccination shots.
Greta was okay with the driveway leading to the clinic. There were tantalizing layers of scents where others had peed before her. There were dogs walking in the same direction she was going. Little dogs were riding in their humans’ arms. Cats were thumping along in cat carriers. Greta met some people who petted her and told her she was beautiful.
An animal advocacy group stood outside the building passing out flyers urging people to have their cats spayed or neutered.
The flyer contained a shocking statistic. “In 2012, the Carroll County Humane Society destroyed 1,905 cats,” it stated. That would mean the society staff had to kill an average of more than five cats a day, every day, because there are too many cats and not enough homes for them.
Is killing homeless cats the best solution we can find? There has never been public support (and funding) for a no-kill shelter in the county. But absent such support, Animal Advocates of Carroll County offers transportation to low-cost spay and neuter clinics and some financial aid, according to the flyer. http://www.animaladvocatescc.org/ Neighboring counties also offer low-cost options to spay and neuter cats. If we reduced the number of new kittens coming into the world, perhaps we wouldn’t have to kill so many to make room in the shelters.
If Greta could add her voice, I’m sure she wouldn’t want kitties to die needlessly. Greta has to growl at her personal cat sometimes when Patches gets too near the dog’s food dish, but the cat is company for her when her person is not at home. Greta has been spayed. She never had a choice in the matter, but life without puppies seems to have been good for her.
Although Greta had been fine with the approach to the rabies vaccination clinic building, it all changed inside. She got in line with her person behind a pair of young humans. Each had a cat carrier, but Greta didn’t want to bother with the cats. What she really wanted was to poke her nose at the khaki-covered rear end of one of the cat owners. He was less than enthusiastic, understandably.
Waiting in line was stressful. So many people, so many dogs, from little Lhasa Apsos to a dog the size of a pony. Someone sniffed her rear without even a basic preliminary “Hi.” She didn’t see that coming, but the dog may need to rethink his approach. He won’t get far walking up to ladies and trying to get intimate without preliminaries. Greta laid her ears back and tucked her tail over her private parts, presumably to resist future similar intrusions.
We reached the registration table. One of the volunteers tried to make friends with Greta, but she wasn’t interested. Her ears stayed back and she sat down, just in case. He understood that it was not a good time for her, friendship-wise. We proceeded to the tables where veterinarians were giving the shots.
“I can’t lift her onto a table,” I told the veterinary technician.
“No, she’s not going on the table,” she replied. “I’ll just hold her head while the doctor goes around back and gives her the shot.”
A quick prick in the hip, and it was all over. Greta and I walked out into the sunshine.
Greta has forgotten the experience. She has a new rabies vaccination tag, and she won’t have to go to the barn clinic again for three years, which is a long time as dogs measure time. But the statistic about the cats hangs on the heart. We can’t add a cat to the family, but we must find a way to help.