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To the editor:
Very beautiful yet often misunderstood, prejudged and unjustly despised animals, cats are (“Wake-up Call,” The Chief, Oct. 20). Yet, one can credit human apathy, and even anti-cat hostility, for stray/feral cat suffering, including starvation.
I grew up around feral cats — a large number of which were tabby — and developed a lifelong appreciation and affection for cats. I've also found that, along with individual people, society collectively can also be quite cruel towards cats, especially the “unwanted,” if not despised, felines.
For example, I read a few years ago that the city neighboring mine — Surrey in British Columbia — had an estimated 36,000 feral cats, very many of which suffer severe malnourishment, debilitating injury and/or infection. And I was informed a couple years ago by Surrey Community Cat Foundation that, if anything, their “numbers would have increased, not decreased, in the last 5 years.”
Yet the municipal government, as well as aware yet uncaring residents, did little or nothing to help with the local nonprofit trap/neuter/release program, regardless of its (and others’) documented success in reducing the needlessly great-suffering. That TNR program is the only charity to which I’ve ever donated, in no small part because of the plentiful human callousness towards the plight of those cats and the countless others elsewhere.
I now realize that only when their over-populations are greatly reduced in number by responsible owners consistently spaying/neutering their felines, might these beautiful animals’ presence be truly appreciated — especially for the symbiotic-like healthy relationships they offer their loving owners — rather than taken for granted or even resented.
Apparently, there is a subconscious yet tragic human-nature propensity to perceive the value of animal life (sometimes even human life in regularly war-torn or overpopulated famine-stricken global regions) in relation to the conditions enjoyed or suffered by that life. With the mindset of feline disposability, it might be: “Oh, there’s a lot more whence they came.”
Frank Sterle Jr.
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