A woman named Laura Bruno visits the stray cats living behind a Middle Island, NY supermarket from time to time for the purpose of feeding them. In February of 2021, she found a cat that had been abandoned there, which horrified her. In part, this was because the stray cats could be aggressive towards other cats, meaning that this wasn’t safe. However, it should also be mentioned that the cat had been shut inside a duct-taped box, with the result that it was covered in its own feces when Bruno came upon the scene. Fortunately, Bruno managed to get the cat to Nobody Starves on Long Island, which is an animal welfare organization that operates in the area.
Why Is Abandoning Cats Such a Horrific Thing to Do?
The reason why abandoning a cat in a duct-taped box in the middle of winter is horrific should be self-evident. However, abandoning cats at anytime and at anyplace tends to be a very bad idea, so much so that people should always look into other options.
For starters, abandoning a cat is awful for the cat. There is a very common belief that cats are half-wild, half-domesticated animals, which goes hand-in-hand with the idea that they can survive just fine when they are out on their own with no source of human assistance whatsoever. However, this is wrong for a couple of reasons. One, more complex animals don’t operate on pure instinct. Instead, they are capable of learning, meaning that their instincts are supplemented by their experiences. Something that happens to include the lessons taught to them by their parents in the species for which that is applicable. As such, pet cats are about as well-prepared for living on their own in a strange, unfamiliar environment as humans would be, which is to say, not at all. Two, even if we assume that cats had magical instincts that made them perfectly capable of living on their own with no experience whatsoever, the fact of the matter is that those magical instincts wouldn’t be well-suited for their probable environment. After all, cities have existed since prehistoric times. However, the huge degree of urbanization in modern times is a very recent phenomenon, as shown by how it is still ongoing in a wide range of countries in a wide range of locations. Simply put, cats haven’t had enough time to evolve, which isn’t even mentioning that pet cats haven’t exactly been under the right kind of selection pressure.
There is another huge issue in that urban environments aren’t exactly wonderful places for cats to live on their own. It is possible for them to survive, as shown by the numerous stray cats that can be found everywhere. However, the fact that almost half of stray kittens will die in their first year of life speaks volumes about the kind of life that they will have. For that matter, while kittens are much more vulnerable than their mature counterparts, the lot of the latter isn’t exactly a great one either. This can be seen in how their expected lifespan is less than two years if they are living on their own. As for how this happens, well, suffice to say that it is a combination of things. For example, stray cats are exposed to extremes of weather, which means everything from hot summers and cold winters to climate-appropriate natural disasters. Likewise, they need to find food, which is complicated by the fact that cat breeding rates mean that they tend to have a lot of other cats competing for a limited supply of food. On top of this, stray cats tend to have either no access or very limited access to healthcare. As such, if they get hurt while they are hunting for food, it is very common for them to enter into a downward spiral of no return. Never mind the other pathogens that they can be exposed to while out in urban environments.
Of course, stray cats are also under considerable threat from humans. Nowadays, more and more places are using humane methods such as catching them, either spaying or neutering them, before releasing them back into the “wild” to keep their population at a manageable level. However, there are still many, many places where stray cats are kept in manageable numbers through a much more brutal toolset. Something that is spurred on by the fact that stray cats can be a real nuisance for humans because of excess noise, foul odors caused by the marking of male cats, and the sight of either injured, dying, or even dead cats.
What Should Pet Owners Do If They Can’t Care For Their Pets Anymore?
Pet owners can become either unable or unwilling to continue caring for their pets for a wide range of reasons. For example, they might have serious medical issues, meaning that they become unable to meet their pets’ needs. Similarly, they might have serious financial medical issues, thus resulting in a similar outcome through a separate path. Regardless, the important part is that just abandoning the pet is a very bad idea, meaning that they should always consider other options.
Sometimes, pet owners can fix the problem through something relatively simple and straightforward that might not have occurred to them. Unfortunately, it won’t be that easy in most cases. Pet owners might want to ask their friends and family members to see if any of them can adopt their pet. This is great because they have increased assurance that their pet will be taken care. In fact, they might even be able to remain in their pet’s life to some extent. However, this won’t always be possible, so pet owners might have to cast a wider and wider net if they are unable to find either a friend or a family member to do this. Fortunately, animal welfare organizations provide a wide range of resources that can help out in such situations, meaning that pet owners should definitely contact them to see what options are available to them. Be warned that animal welfare organizations have limited resources, which in turn, means that they can provide limited help. For instance, no-kill shelters are great because of what is stated in their name, but the downside is that they are much more selective about the animals that they will accept. Still, even though animal welfare organizations have a limited ability to help, going to them is still much better than just abandoning a pet like what happened to the cat in the duct-taped box.