Sunday, March 24, 2013

Why You Should Not Abandon an Unwanted Cat on a Farm

When I was young our family had a wonderful Calico cat, her name was “Calico”. We went to live in another country for a year and could not take her with us. We were lucky to find a home willing to take an adult cat (we didn’t dump her). It was a farm home, which seemed like a great choice. But when we returned we found out that farm homes are not the ideal life for a cat.

Calico had been beaten up by the other resident cats, and was thin, due to the fact that some farmers do not feed their cats, rather insisting they catch mice. If not wormed, farm cats are loaded with parasites from eating the mice. But at least she was alive, many farm cats have their lives cut short.

The Typical Life of Some Farm Cats

Many farm cats die within their first 6 weeks. If their mother is not well fed survival for the entire litter is poor. Many kittens are killed by coyotes, raccoons, owls, and foxes. Intact male cats will even kill kittens in an effort to bring the mother back into heat.

But a worse fate than that is when the farmer finds “another” unwanted litter, he may dispose of them himself, often by drowning, or by placing the kittens in a bag and throwing it onto the road. 

Even if the kittens survive the first few months on a farm they are always at risk.

Farmers often do not feed the cats, they think the cat will catch more mice if it is hungry. Farmers seldom spend money to vaccinate, deworm, and so forth. Some farmers feel that these cats are not going to have a long lifespan, why spend money on something that a coyote is just going to kill anyhow?

What Happens to Abandoned Cats, Dumped on Farms

When a new cat shows up on a farm, as when one is dumped in the country by its owner, the farmer is not always welcoming. Sometimes it is the current farm cats, and farm dog, who may be less welcoming; chasing the new comer off, or even killing it. 

Okay, so let us assume it got by the residents and coyotes, now the newly abandoned cat faces the farmer. Most farms are already overrun with cats (due to many farmers resisting the expense of spaying or neutering) as such one more is a burden. Abandoned cats are often shot on sight, and this is legal in some areas.

Cat Abandonment is Illegal

In most areas taking your cat out to a farm is illegal. This falls under animal cruelty and is Animal Abandonment. Few people are charged because few people are caught in the act. Regardless of this, it is a cruel, and cowardly, thing to do to a pet cat, or any animal.

What Should be Done with an Unwanted Pet Cat

If you cannot keep your cat, or do not want it any longer you should return it to the breeder, or to the animal shelter if you adopted it from. If this is not an option it should be surrendered to a local animal shelter, rehomed carefully (Free to Good Home Pets often do not find good homes), or euthanized humanely.

Some Farm Cats do have Good Lives

To say “all” farm cats have bad lives is not true. I live on a hobby farm, my cats are all spayed or neutered, and get wormed, and vaccinated. However, you must remember, I am a city kid who moved to the country and my views of cats are as pets not as “mousers”. I keep my cats in my house when it is cold, they get plenty of cat food indoors and outside.

Farms are interesting, and potentially fun, places for a well cared for cat.  If you have a cat you cannot keep and have found a farm home for it, make sure the farmer is willing to feed the cat, and does have shelter for it.  A declawed cat has no place on a farm unless it is going to be kept indoors only.

Where I live there are farmers who might keep one cat as a pet, but have others around the farm that are not treated with kindness or respect. You cannot blame the farmers for this attitude, after all their life revolves mostly around feeding you!

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