We leave our furballs on Saturday and it got me thinking about strays. Our good friend is staying at our house while we’re gone and we’ve only requested one thing: to take care of all of the cats, indoor and outdoor. Though Chris thinks they could care less if humans are near, our fat little beasts (Jazz and Shadow) actually get lonely if no one is around. Our friend has a beautiful little boy that will keep our punks on their toes while we’re gone and maybe, just maybe, chase them enough to give them some much needed exercise. When they’re not running from kids, Jazz and Shadow like to look out into the backyard at all the other cats, taunting them with their shiny coats and distended stomachs. Every single morning, when I open the shutters, a row of cats greet me waiting to be fed. (They know where the good stuff is.) Our 2 Canadian cats get the prime pate while the 7 or 8 strays we feed get whatever is on sale, though sometimes I mix it up if Jazz and Shadow are non-appreciative (often). Occasionally, we let one stray stay in the garage if it’s cold and she has begun to think she owns the place. By the time we leave to wherever it is we’re going, we might have our own cat sanctuary.
Though strays are super adorable, they struggle and have difficult lives. This time of year, people like to give pets as gifts and I think that while the gesture is nice, not every person is a responsible pet-owner. Pets need to be neutered or spayed to control the population. They need vaccinations and food and medical care not just occasionally but routinely. This can be expensive and sometimes the gift of an animal is actually the passing of a burden. Consider, instead, donating to a local, responsible animal shelter that helps control the population. If you want a furry fix, however, you are always welcome to my house. There is no shortage of furry friends looking for love and attention. (Okay, food, they mostly want food…)