Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Alley Cats 'n' Alley Kittens

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Gail, co-owner of The Bookmine, is holding Gailen who was named after her. Cristy is holding Beverly named after Bev Kelly, the Humane Society's much-loved shop manager. Barbara is holding little Barnabus, named after her. 
These three kittens are part of five born to an alley cat who roams the streets downtown, seeking refuge.  Of all the kittens born today, only one in ten finds a home.  The other nine die because they are surplus-unwanted.  There are never enough homes for all the pets--these three lovely kittens are a few of the lucky ones.
A stray female cat arrived in the alley and took up refuge under an old building in town and promptly delivered six kittens.  Caring people captured the wild kittens and found them loving homes.

Then the young mother cat, who appears to be eight months old, proceeded to have her second litter.  This time five kittens, three of which are pictured above, were born.

The kittens were caught and responsible and loving homes where located for them. The mother cat continues to elude humane capture by the Humane Society.  It is not from lack of trying; the ladies have been vigilant, but the cat is street smart. The cat is not as fast at escaping her unneutered male cat suitors, though.

Sadly, she is about to deliver another large litter, judging by the size of her fast growing belly.  If she delivers her usual amount, in just ten months this mother cat will have produced 17 kittens, many of these being females.

A kitten is easy to create, and lives for an average of twenty years.  This requires years of care-taking.

Even though this cat's kittens all found homes, it means that for every kitten placed, another one is euthanized at local shelters.  There are only so many homes to go around. And in this economy, less.

Cristy, has volunteered at the Humane Society thrift-gift shop The This 'n' That on the corner of 8th and Whitaker, for six months.  

Cristy says, "These cute kittens' faces are a result of someone's irresponsibility.  Usually kittens don't have a chance when born on the street unless caring people step forward.  A street cat has a life span of 3 years and a domesticated family cat can live up to twenty years or longer.  Life on the street is difficult and dangerous for an adult cat and worse for its off spring.

When people dump animals, or don't neuter and spay their pets, this is the result.  It is a heart-wrenching responsibility for us that find them, who try to save them, and care enough to help.  One of our staff just rescued a  female kitten downtown.  If she had not rescued her, in just a few short months this kitten would be dropping her kittens around town like the many colored eggs of the Easter Bunny.  Our town is already overpopulated with unwanted pets.

It is not just the responsibility of owners of female pets to spay them.  A male cat can easily impregnate four females in one day, resulting in 16 kittens.  A male dog, even more puppies! The male then can go out the next day and do the same thing all over again!  If you are not adopting pets each season, do the responsible thing and alter your pet.  Statistics prove that altered pets live longer; are healthier; and have a reduced incidence of cancer.  You save money on vet bills, as they get in fewer fights.

Cristy adopted three of the last five of the alley cat's kittens.  "They are playful, love each other, and were domesticated very quickly," says Cristy.  "They get along well with my other cats.  The kittens are healthy and loved, and would not have had such a cushy life if we had not rescued them.  On Fridays and Saturdays I take Gailen with me to the This 'n' That shop.  He is an ambassador for the well being of animals.  His very life illustrates what not spaying, not neutering, and abandonment, can create.

At the shop, Gailen loves exploring and running amongst the customers and treasures.  He is still a baby and runs around, but then comes back to make sure I am there.  Once he is assured I am present, he takes off again on his tiny legs to discover other life mysteries.

We have a customer who is disabled and she comes in for her "kitty fixes".  She loves holding Gailen for "kitten therapy".  There is great healing power in holding something warm, cuddly and loving next to our hearts," adds Cristy with a gentle smile.

Low-income neutering and spaying coupons are available at the This 'n' That shop. Also, a $20 off coupon is available for other pet parents. And they willingly accept donations to keep this program active.


Linda and Allan Anderson, co-authors of 14 animals books in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, are also the founders of the Angel Animals Network, "We enjoy reading Pet Tips 'n Tales each week," writes Linda. "Mary Ellen researches her stories about animals and people and fills in just the right details to make them inspiring. The accompanying photos are topnotch. Hers is a column with great integrity and passion. Any animal enthusiast would love it." 
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