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Wondering Wednesday

Wednesday Oct 10, 2007 08:22:00 AM

There was an article on Petcentric about Dogs and Cats getting lost and how humans who find apparent strays should not just assume that they are strays and should take steps to reunite them with their humans. This is all well and good, but with Cats, if they do not like where they are living, they will leave.

Cats are largely independent creatures and will not say in conditions they do not like. One of these conditions is overcrowding.

There are always stories of the old lady that lives in a house with 87 cats and I often read something, usually once a year, about one of these so called "Cat Ladies". There was a video recently about the lady in Moscow with 130 cats in her apartment! She say she want to help them but does having that many cats live in such crowded conditions really help them?

So I have been thinking...what is an acceptable number of pets? What constitutes a pet collector or a pet hoarder?

I do not think that there is a hard and fast number. If you take good care of your animals, they are all healthy and their is room enough for all of them to have their own area, then I would say you could have easily have more pets then someone you lives in tiny apartment in city, is not home often and cannot afford to take proper care of more than one. A family that is home more often then not will obviously have time to devote to more animals.

The other question involves level of care. Is food and water enough? Shouldn't a certain level of interaction be involved? Is a cat that is given food and water, lives in a house and ever goes outside, a pet if the cat never receives any petting or spends quality time with a human?

My Bean knows of a situation where a pair of humans have a colony of feral cats in their attic. They feel that because they feed and water the cats, and that the cats are inside, away from things that can harm them that they are helping them. But the cats do not receive regular health care from a professional (notice how nicely I sidestep that V word?) and they are not fixed, so they can produce kittens, which is how the whole colony got started. First they took in a pair, then the pair had kittens and then the kittens had kittens...

These, to me, are not pets and you are not really helping the animals. They live in fear of the humans and of the woofies that also live in the house and they will not come by the woofies or the humans. Also they fight amongst themselves, and often kittens are killed by the adult cats because the room is limited. This is a problem but these humans will not ask for help and local agencies will not step in as a it is a private residence.

On a similar note, there are the Infantis who own a Birman and a Main Coon, a Chausie, two cougars and a Siberian lynx. The cougars and the lynx live outside have enclosed cages and are allowed out of the cages and into the family's enclosed porch to play and interact with the humans. The two domestic cats and the Chausie all live inside the house. I think in this case, these animals are more pets than in the previous case.

What are your thoughts on this matter. What is an acceptable number of pets, and what is an acceptable level of care?

Because I know some of my readers have problems with my Xanga account, I put this also on my Blogger account so these readers can comment.

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