CATS, TOO OFTEN THE UNDERDOGS
Because, of course, cats don't have that level of municipal support or anything close to it.
Here's a quiz for you: Can you guess when the Nova Scotia government included the word “cat” in its Animal Protection Act? It was just last year. We can thank our friends from the Tuxedo Party for lobbying the minister to
make that change. Up until then, the Act only mentioned dogs. Cats truly are the underdogs.
Here's a few more examples.
While she had the puppies, my brethren in the media, print and broadcast, beat a path to her door, wanting to tell the story of the wonderful – and it truly was wonderful – rescue of these dear, sweet pups. In fact, many media outlets wanted to come more than once to track their progress.
situations. She said they would be welcome to document their stories as well. In fact, not long afterwards she got a little of kittens delivered to her door, found in a bag in a ditch. Sound familiar? But there was no interest.
So what's the result of society's systemic neglect of cats?
time to celebrate.
Because many municipalities do not support cat rescues even just a little bit, it's left to the hard work of individual rescuers, most doing it on their own time, on their own dime, and working literally to exhaustion. Burnout among cat rescuers is, not surprisingly, very high.
But there are a few bright lights out there.
is also currently establishing an advisory committee to address cat-related issues, which could go a long way to bringing forth programs to battle a feral and stray cat problem and heighten education among cat owners. We're all anxious to see what this committee will look like and how the city will implement its recommendations sometime in the future. I remain cautiously optimistic.
But those programs and others are just a drop in the bucket until cats are put on a level playing field with dogs when it comes to increased care and concern, not only by pet owners, who would abandon their cat or let their unspayed or unneutered cat roam the neighbourhood, but also by our elected officials.
If a town is willing to spend money on staff to catch lost dogs, provide pound services and dog parks, they should also be willing to pony up the cash to help spay and neuter cats for humane population control, provide educational programs to deter abandonment and abuse, and generally promote goodwill toward the No. 1 household pet in Canada.
So next time you hear your community express support for dog initiatives, don't be afraid to stand up and ask for the equivalent for our feline friends. Or next time you hear of a cat-related story worthy of media attention, don't be afraid to pester your local news outlet for equal time. And, of course, -- which probably needs not be emphasized in this room – donate your time, money or supplies if you can – to organizations like the SPCA or cat rescues like Spay Day HRM or Pick of the Litter doing this lifesaving work with little or no governmental support.