Dogs, cats will enjoy life being non-parents
All About Pets
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By Mickey Zeldes  May 10, 2013 12:00 am

This weekend we salute and show our gratitude to our mothers for the devotion, selfless caring, and hovering concern they’ve shown us throughout our lives.  Animals can also be wonderful parents, and there is a beauty in watching a mom cat or dog nurse their offspring and lick them clean that brings out the “awww” factor in most people.

Dogs and cats raise their young with love, but that’s as far as the similarities to people go.  Once the kittens or pups are old enough to wean, mom really doesn’t want anything more to do with them.  They don’t keep lifelong connections with their progenies, and they don’t really give a lot of thought about whether or not they “want” another pregnancy.  This is where animal instincts come into play.  They breed because they can, and that is what their instincts tell them to do.

As pet parents, we will be the ones ultimately responsible for the descendants of our companion animals.  And as humans, we have the capacity to think ahead and calculate whether or not it is appropriate to bring more puppies or kittens into the world, and what to do if we think the answer to that is “no.”  We have the ability to stop the breeding cycle through surgical sterilization and curb the overpopulation of dogs and cats.   Why would we not choose to do that?  Especially when there is a program, through the shelter, where cats from Rohnert Park and Cotati residents can be altered for free and dogs can be done for just $60 (lower if there is financial hardships or for pit bulls and Chihuahuas, since these are the most overbred animals in shelters right now).

If you have been feeding a “community” cat – one that is not owned but hanging around all the time – thank you for that.  Getting enough to eat is one of the struggles a stray cat faces, and lack of good nutrition can definitely shorten their lifespan.  But having a reliable source of food is also one of the criteria for the body to come into heat and get pregnant.  So, if you feed a stray, then neuter and spay.  Do you really want to be feeding five more cats by the end of the summer and 25 more next year?  They multiply quickly, and the situation can get out of control in no time.

What if you suspect the stray you’ve been feeding has kittens hidden somewhere?  This is the time of year when all fertile females are either pregnant or lactating, so it wouldn’t be surprising.  The younger the kittens are when they are caught and brought into the shelter, the better their chances of getting tamed down and adopted.  Don’t just watch the kittens grow up until winter hits and then worry about them outside in the elements. By then, they will be too wild to ever be tamed.  It’s up to you to catch them and then trap the mom so she can be spayed – and the dad too because it takes two to tango (if you know what I mean).  If mom is not tame enough to be adopted, the hope is she can go back to where she was found and continue being a community cat.  At least this would break the cycle, so please help.  The problem does not just go away if ignored.

Dogs and cats will never miss not being parents.  They live life in the present, so it’s not something they dream about.  Once fixed, they never know what they are missing.  Call our Fix-it clinic, 588-3531, to get a spay/neuter appointment or Forgotten Felines at 576-7999 for more information on their trap/neuter/release program.  

This Sunday, let’s celebrate all the dogs and cats who were never moms.  It’s certainly a new way to look at mother’s day.

Upcoming events: Adoption special through May 12. It’s “Name Your Price” on adoption fees for all our animals.  All reasonable offers will be considered.  Let’s find our animals good homes during this Be Kind to Animals Week celebration.

Pet License Amnesty Week:  All late fees will be waived through May 12, so you can get your pets current on their licenses.  Stop by the shelter with proof of current rabies and make your dog or cat “legal.” All dogs and cats over four months old in RP must be licensed.

Bunny Day:  The Meet the Bunny event, is the second Saturday of each month (next is May 11), 1-5 p.m.  Meet our adoptable rabbits, have your care questions answered by our knowledgeable rabbit volunteers, bring your rabbit for a free nail trim and support our small animals by shopping our Bunny Boutique for fresh hay, treats and toys.

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at mzeldes@rpcity.org.

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