Friday, May 29, 2009

fun, frisky felines: economic downturn edition

As most of you know, Gracie had her little surgery this week. She was pretty much up and running and being all frisky-like the next day so she's going to be a-ok. *sigh* Moreover, she's being more affectionate than usual which gives me the impression that she's happy to be pain-free. She's been prescribed some painkillers and I know those tend to make me happy and pain-free too. As a kitty parent, I can't tell even begin to express how ecstatic this makes me.

So...about the title of this post...

A year and a half ago, Jesse and I made the decision to adopt a kitty (actually I had decided that a LONG TIME AGO...Jesse finally came around two Januaries ago). I searched and pored over and craigslist and individual rescue sites before finding our little Nicky (and again later to find our little Gracie). While searching through the craigslist ads in the pet section, I noticed two things: (1) an inordinate amount of listings asking for free pets and (2) an exorbitant amount of people giving their pets away because they didn't have the money to care for them.

The title of Chapter 56 in the Book of Duh is titled Pets Cost Money. Free pets will need to be spayed/neutered, taken for shots, etc. I suspect that the people posting these requests for free pets are not looking to take all of these necessary medical precautions because those procedures cost money and they are looking for handouts (in the form of a cute, cuddly kitten or puppy that will grow up to be a financially-consuming adult cat or dog). I could be wrong about the folks looking for freebies, but having been a regular reader of the pet ads at some point, a lot of the people asking for free pets eventually asked for free food, free bowls, free litter boxes, free leashes, etc.

While I understand why there would be a large number of people looking to give their pets away right now because of the state of the economy, seeing all of those ads two years ago didn't make much sense to me. I was apalled by some of the reasons people stated: "please take my pregnant dog because I never spayed her and now she has puppies and I can't afford to feed so many mouths" or "my cat needs surgery and I can't afford it so please take my cat so he can have a good life." How could people be so flippant about giving their pets away?

Before you jump into pet ownership, you must realize something first. Pet ownership is a privilege and it requires a full commitment. And by 'full' I mean that pets require an emotional, physical (dogs need walks, cats need exercise), and financial commitment. Caring for a pet is not cheap. Nicky's surgery was almost immediately succeeded by Gracie's surgery and, dude, do I really wish that we had signed up for that pet health insurance a long time ago. Jesse and I are not rich, so we had to make some sacrifices in order to pay for these surgeries. But the money we spent is far less important than the health and happiness of our furbabies.

I love my kitties. I wouldn't change a thing. I'm not complaining about the cost of caring for them at all. Adopting Nicky and Gracie was one of the best things Jesse and I have done.  With shelters and rescues bursting at the seams, I think now is the time for people to contemplate adopting. However, people need to really think things through before doing so.

There are countless homeless doggies and kitties waiting for their forever home. They are living creatures that are completely dependent on us to keep them healthy and safe. We owe it to them to make a full commitment to love them and care for them but only when we are ready to do so.


Zipcode said...

Glad Gracie is feeling well!!!


michelle said...

Glad the surgery went well! I agree about Pet Ownership being a huge commitment.... I love my cat and she is like my child :D

instatick said...

Glad GracieCat is doing well!

We actually got our dog from one of the people who "collects" pets and then gets tried of them after the newness wears off. I equate getting pets to becoming parents - you HAVE to be able to support them and take care of them and love them and fulfill their doggie/kitty needs.

Bilbo said...

The only economic difference between pets and children is that you don't have to send the pets to college. Other than that, the support costs pretty much equal out.

vw - miscoo: what happens when a pigeon doesn't make a sound at the right time.