To the editor;
If the SPCA develops a social and educational role that teaches kindness and compassion towards vulnerable animals, a really good place to start is with cats, especially the stray and feral felines. God knows it’s much needed.
Over the last four decades, I, always a cat enthusiast, have observed callous disregard, and sometimes even contempt, exhibited by individual people and the collective community toward these often suffering sentient beings.
I grew up knowing a few cat-haters willing to procure sick satisfaction from torturing to death those naively-trusting thus likely sweet-natured cats whose owners had recklessly allowed them to wander the neighbourhood at night.
Also worrisome are the unfavourable attitudes toward cats openly expressed by news-media commentators, whose views, however reckless, can be influential.
When a B.C. community newspaper editor wrote a column about courthouse protestors demanding justice in 2014 for a Sarnia, Ontario cat shot in the head 17 times with a pellet gun, destroying an eye, she declared: “Hey crazy people, it’s [just] a cat.”
Maybe the court also perceived it so, as the charges against the two adult perpetrators were dropped.
Furthermore, a national columnist twice (at least of which I know) openly stated her dislike for cats.
In an Oct.30, 2017 opinion (“How to silence heckling MPs in the animal House”) she wrote that Canadian politicians should replace their traditional rude heckling with caterwauling: “My vote is for meowing because I don’t like cats and I’d like to sabotage their brand as much as possible. So if our elected politicians are going to be disrespectful in our House of Commons, they might as well channel the animal that holds us all in contempt.”
I search-engined the Internet but found nothing to even hint as to why she so publicly dislikes felines. I know their reptilian vertical slit pupils and defensive fanged hisses don’t help their cause.
(As for my own house cat, Simon, I feel he appreciates me as much as I show mine for him.)
The above comments and criticisms about cats might reflect on why feral-cat Trap/Neuter/Release programs, regardless of their documented success in reducing needless suffering, are typically underfunded by governments as well as private donors.
There are staggering numbers of these distressed souls in some B.C. municipalities, notably in Surrey.
But could there also be a subconscious human perception that the value of such life (if not even human life in regularly war-torn or overpopulated famine-stricken global regions) is reflected by the life overabundance and the protracted conditions under which it suffers?
I fear a possible presumption of feline disposability, i.e. ‘there is a lot more whence they came’.
Only when over-populations of unwanted cats are greatly reduced in number by responsible owners consistently spaying/neutering their felines, will this beautiful animal’s presence be truly appreciated, especially for the symbiotic-like healthy relationships (contrary to common misinformation) they offer their loving owners.
Frank Sterle Jr.
White Rock, B.C.