Companion Animals

Upcoming in Ithaca

Some folks I know are having some interesting events, coming up soon(ish) in Ithaca. Check these out and please share the links! Thanks.

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Meet Sassafras!

Sassafras
This weekend a cute vanilla cat showed up in our driveway. He was super-friendly, coming over to be petted and cuddled. He let our toddler pet him; he let me pick him up and pet his tummy and put him over my shoulder like a baby. He purred deeply. He followed us up and down the driveway.

He was obviously not neutered, and looked like he had some eye issues and I think fleas. His face and tail were scratched up and some fur was missing. He was skinny. And he had tummy troubles, and an uncomfy-looking butt (sorry if this is TMI).

Sassafras

I now knew who had been pooping all over the place for the past week.

It’s been getting cold out at night. I thought of this sociable, lovey cat who really did not feel very good probably being left out in the cold again.
Sassafras

I reasoned that I’d rather worry about a worried human than about this cat having another night out there.

So, I called Tompkins County SPCA and asked if it made sense to bring him in. They said if he was a house cat and someone called in looking for him, they’d give him needed veterinary care and neuter him before giving him back.

All things considered, I think this was the best decision for the cat, and the cat is the one with less power in this situation. I try to side with those with less power. So, sorry human, if you’re out there: your cat has taken a trip to the SPCA and may go up for adoption if he isn’t claimed. : /

Sassafras

I took the liberty of naming this dude Sassafras; it seemed to suit his gregarious nature and appearance, somehow. I know that if he does go up for adoption, he’ll get a wonderful home and a happy life — he’s a lovely, sweet cat who obviously thrives on attention. If I hadn’t brought him in so quickly, I would have fallen in love. I think I already kinda did. Like all cats I’ve encountered and had some connection with, I’ll probably remember him forever.

Sassafras

Good luck, Sassafras. Whether it’s back where you one day came from, or in a new home, may your future be full of clean floors and enticing toys, clawable carpets and scratching posts, delicious food, cool fresh water, open windows in the summertime, lots of play and cuddle sessions, and safe afternoon naps in warm pools of sunlight, in your very own territory, surrounded by your very own human family. I’ll be glad to think of you there, rather than worrying about you roaming our driveway all winter.

Thank you to SPCA of TC for taking in Sassafras and providing his medical care free of charge! I could not help all of these cats without this incredible service and support. If you can, please consider donating to Tompkins County SPCA, Browncoat Cat Rescue, or another local animal rescue or shelter operation. The folks that do this work, and the animals who depend on them, really need us to pitch in. Whether it’s a few dollars, a few hours of your time, or a donation of towels or food, your contributions can make a huge difference.

Another ethical grey area: Duck cuddling

duck and veteran

Image description: On a suburban street, a burly man in sunglasses and a trucker cap tenderly cuddles a white duck in his arms, talking to him or her and scratching his/her tummy. The duck is relaxed and cozy-looking. Three more ducks walk around behind them, among chain link fencing and an orange construction fence.

This is one of those things that I see as a vegan and wonder if it could be done ethically. The story behind the image is that this guy is a veteran living in Ohio who keeps ducks for therapy. According to this short Gawker post and the AP article it links to, this “keeping” apparently consists of caring for them, watching them, and spending time with them. It doesn’t say anything about taking their eggs or feathers, or eating their bodies, or breeding or selling them. Maybe some of that is involved; maybe the particulars of this situation are in some way exploitative. My guess is that these animals weren’t rescued from a factory farm, for example.

But what I’m seeing here is the potential for a very sweet and symbiotic way for veterans and other humans to take a lot of solace in the company of animals who need homes. If sanctuary animals in need of adoption were paired with humans who need their company, that seems like a smart, benign, and even beneficial relationship. Could the concept of “therapy animal” be expanded to become an explicitly mutual, respectful relationship intended to benefit both parties?

Read the article and tell me what you think about this subject.

Animal rights vs. Animal welfare

animal rights vs animal welfare
Evolve Campaigns made this great viral graphic comparing animal rights and animal welfare. I’ve seen it around for a while, and have always thought it did a good job of making the distinction clear. So when I saw it on Pinterest I gave it a heart!

Then I read the comments. I don’t usually engage like this, anymore! But I couldn’t help it, I had to dive in.

It’s interesting to me that folks see veganism and animal rights as some kind of choice of animals over humans, when humans are animals, and so many vegans are also human rights advocates for this reason (and also because they’re, you know, generally decent people who are working on becoming less oppressive). I don’t think that was ever an issue for me. My issue was that animals were tasty. But in any case, I don’t think any of these issues are good reasons for eating someone.

Humans, you are bigger and stronger than cats.

The headlines read, with a snicker, 22-Pound Cat Takes Family Hostage; Family Calls 911 For Help. The cat, it turns out, is in a family with a new 7-month-old baby. Lux scratched the baby and was kicked. He began hissing and growling and cornered the family including the dog in a bedroom for a short period before presumably making friends again. In this comment thread, someone says, “Don’t kick cats!” and a lot of people are all like, “Why not? He scratched the baby!”

facepalm

My thoughts:

  1. This story is not funny, it’s sad.
  2. Humanity’s amusement about this story says a lot about our collective lack of compassion for beings of other species.
  3. Cats and dogs and children all depend on us and all love us. We don’t have to place them in some kind of hierarchy of importance.
  4. Cats get jealous. They are often very disrupted by the arrival of children. Since we first made a commitment to the cat, we should continue to honor that commitment.
  5. Cats scratch when they’re threatened or upset. Kicking them doesn’t make them feel any less threatened or upset.
  6. Kicking those who are less powerful than you are does nothing but show how cruel and ignorant you are, and sets a terrible example for children.
  7. Next time maybe try apologizing to the cat, protecting him from the baby, and NOT KICKING ANYONE.

As an aside, because I happen to be jumping through the hoops needed to become the second adoptive parent of my own baby son: I can’t believe that people are allowed to just go buy cats and make babies, when adopting them is so difficult (and is done with so much positive intention). Our species will take a great leap forward the day we realize that caring for children and non-human animals is a great privilege as well as a right.

Another dog shot down by police

From the Huffington Post:

The family said the officer wanted to interview a neighbor and was walking across the front yards of homes on the street when the shooting happened. The Reeves family was not involved in the burglary investigation that brought the officer to their neighborhood. Vern barked and ran toward the officer, prompting the shooting, the family said… “it’s devastating…He was a member of our family… It’s no different from it being a person.”

Help reduce predation by cats – adopt a baby feral!

browncoat-adoption-event
You can help minimize damage on local ecosystems by feral cats, by helping to reduce feral cat populations. A great way to do that is to adopt socialized feral babies and to attempt to feed them more responsibly than they can feed themselves. All three of our cats were once ferals (from Brooklyn), and they’re now very happy housecats.

To adopt a new kitty friend right here in Ithaca, go to Browncoat Cat Rescue’s Adoption Event at Ithaca Grain and Pet Supply at 1011 W Seneca, Ithaca, NY on Saturday, September 28 starting at 10:00am:

28 Cats and Kittens available for adoption on September 28th! Come and meet the kitties, and learn about fostering/adopting. Homemade goodies will be provided!

Click here to learn more about Browncoat Cat Rescue and click here to share and RSVP to the adoption event listing on Facebook.

Animal Rescue Fundraising Shindig!

rescue-fundraiser
This just in from Browncoat Cat Rescue:

Americana Wineries is having a book release shindig, with fundraising for rescue groups (Seneca County SPCA, Pet the Pet, and Browncoat Cat Rescue!) There will be live music, face-painting, food, wine, raffles, a silent auction, and adorable animals to meet! Eat, drink, and save some lives.

Well mannered dogs are more than welcome to attend!

Come by BCR’s little tent, and meet my boxes of kittens :-)

Saturday, June 1, 2013
12:00pm until 6:00pm

RSVP on Facebook