Loving animals can hurt – especially for an empath. The other day when I saw a clip on the computer of a guy walking up to a kangaroo and slugging it in the face –I had no idea the context. I actually hurt inside and made me sad too. I wanted to contact who was behind it and let them know my thoughts… When I saw some stupid animal trick on the news, I jumped up and called them right away and told them that cruelty to animals for the sake of a laugh is pathetic and not newsworthy.

The most recent atrocity was seeing a hunter with a dead giraffe and learning people hunt polar bears. What is wrong with these people? Why the need for domination and false bravado? Why would anyone be proud of shooting an animal from a helicopter?

I #love to think people are like me and rescue dogs and cats, pray for horses, and don’t eat animals. There are people who care deeply about animals. You find them everywhere, the internet, animal planet, the neighborhood, in veterinarian’s offices and among my friends.

Let me clarify, so this doesn’t remain just a rant about animal abuse I have felt this way about animals since I was a child. I had cats and dogs as pets of course. But when my stepdad asked if I wanted to go rabbit hunting (target practice was something everyone in my family did in the Nevada desert). I said sure, I wanted to go and then checked to see if we’d take the rabbits to the vet afterward. I was in elementary school and not too clear on what rabbit hunting was and what guns did. My parents said never mind, we’ll skip the rabbit hunting. I knew something had just transpired between them – you know when your parents whisper and smile that it’s about you. It was one of the moments that stayed with me.

Today we have more cats than usual. We’re always happy to have one or two. But in this holiday season, we ended up with 6 which is a lot to take care of. One of the strays we feed had 4 kittens in the neighbor’s yard. She apparently is afraid of cats so as soon as they were big enough we brought them into our house and have been gradually introducing them to our other little buddies: Lucky who has lived with us for at least 4 years and Coco who joined us 6 months ago. Loving kindness for animals

Just an aside, it has always been odd to me that people say they have a rescue dog because all the pets I ever had were from the “pound” or the street or from someone looking for a home for the animal. All were “rescued”. To me that is normal. I’ve never used the term these are my “rescue cats”. Aren’t they all being rescued from the streets or death when we invite them into our homes?

On top of all that anguish, how can people buy animals not to mention that people raise animals for money! Who purchases life? Each animal belongs to itself. We cannot own them. We are caretakers.

So now we have 6 house cats and 2 strays that visit regularly for meals. We just got the 4 kittens fixed. Fortunately, these 4 are so ridiculously cute that we will keep them all. There’s a 10 to 20-year commitment. What else can we do? That’s a rhetorical question. There are too many unwanted animals sitting in shelters already. We won’t contribute to the problem.

Chocolate cat

Chocolate cat

People who make capture, spay/neuter, release programs possible are #inspiring. They helped us once before by loaning us a specialized cage.

We captured the stray we called Chocolate who after that lived a fabulous 5 years with us until his death from FHIV. We were able to feed, love, and nurture him for years as we domesticated him. He grew big and healthy and dominated the household a bit as he ran, jumped on the bed and flopped down next to us expecting to be petted and scratched. We indulged him.

Isn’t that was having pets is all about? Reciprocity. They get so much from us and we get so much from them too. Animals in the wild may not be cute and cuddly yet they deserve respect because they are life. All life is worthy of respect. All life is worthy of respect. Black lives, blue lives, animal lives!
A few resources:
“Trap-Neuter-Return Ordinances and Policies in the United States: The Future of Animal Control” – Alley Cat Allies January 2013 legal brief