Rescue considerations

Two entries on Dawn’s blog give much cause for pause. What price rescue? Is it for one’s convenience or ease of conscience? There are half-baked rescues, just like there are feel-good karma feeders and emotional blackmailers.

This type of people leave problems for others to solve, because of what I call wilful myopia. They expect others to clean up after them forever, causing more problem than some of the irresponsible pet owners or unreasonable complainants.

Before I’m accused of speaking from the highhorse, I want to make it clear that I too used to think that one call to the spca saves the animal and ease my conscience, ie we all start the same way.

But you can bury your head in the sand for only so long before you have to come up for air. Scratch the veneered surface of this type of thinking (brittle as it is, it breaks at the merest touch). Then take a GOOD whiff.

Nothing’s ever easy or for free. There’s always doubts, and there’s always worry. Ultimately, the question is: how far are you willing to go with your ‘rescue’? Face it, no one likes shovelling poop, but we all got our own lot to deal with. So what’s so special about you and the lot you took on yourself that you expect others others to shovel it for you?!

(EDIT: Also see Starter Kit and FAQ for the Kitty Foster/Rehomer)

Entry 1

Monday, January 29, 2007

Stop ‘Rescuing’ cats!

I keep getting emails from people that ask for someone to rescue cats. This includes people who say their management is going to remove the cats that they are feeding because there are complaints. One woman wrote in today to say that she is moving, the block is going to be sold en bloc, and the mother cat just gave birth. She wanted to know if they will be ‘rescued’ and removed from their mother.

The woman who is moving away said she had been feeding the cats but was not taking them with her. If for example, she could continue to come back and feed and more importantly start sterilising, the situation could be managed. I told her their chances of survival now without the mother cat would be very slim. She wrote back to thank me for the advice.

When I write back and say that we would be happy to talk to managements with the residents to allow the cats to stay and help them to start up a programme in their own estates, often though, the people don’t write back. For them to ‘rescue’ the cats means they will be removed and taken somewhere to be adopted. They then no longer have to worry about it.

Rescue however is meant to save the cats’ lives – and hopefully not just THESE cats but the cats that will surely move in after. Say the cats are removed. Where do they go? Where are all the adoptive homes? What happens to the new cats that will move in due to the vacuum effect? What are the people who started feeding them in the first place going to do?

If they honestly didn’t know about sterilisation and management, we’re happy to help out to teach them what to do. We are happy to speak with management with them and set up a programme. To expect someone to bail them out though (by taking away all the cats for them), or to send the cats to be ‘rescued’ in already over-crowded shelters is just not going to work. Nor is it rescue.

posted by Dawn @ 12:45 PM


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.

posted by Dawn @ 10:02 PM


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