LETTER: Kindness and compassion needed around cats

I’ve observed callous disregard, and sometimes even contempt, exhibited towards these sentient beings

Dear Editor:

Re: Critteraid’s Pet of the Week cat photos

Although the public exposure of these otherwise vulnerable cats is productive, greater and wider societal kindness and compassion is much needed, especially towards stray and feral felines.

Over the last four decades I’ve observed callous disregard, and sometimes even contempt, exhibited by individual people and the collective community towards 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.

READ ALSO: PET OF THE WEEK: Fern needs a playing buddy

READ ALSO: Column: Pet ownership a rewarding yet pricey commitment

Also worrisome are the unfavourable attitudes toward cats openly expressed by news-media commentators, whose views, however reckless, can be influential.

When the editor of a community newspaper 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.

Elsewhere, an otherwise liberal-minded national columnist twice (of which I know) openly stated her dislike for cats.

I searched 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 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, where well-known old-problem rampant feral and stray cat populations are allowed to suffer severe malnourishment, debilitating injury and/or infection.

Could there be a subconscious human perception that the value, or lack thereof, of such life is reflected by its 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 overpopulations 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

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