What's that? I'm too new to start ranting already?? Heh, watch me.
Martin and I had a horrible experience this last weekend, which is actually still ongoing. We discovered a litter of four feral kittens and their mom living in the back areas of our apartment complex, and we've been feeding and trying to socialize them so they could be taken to the shelter for adoption. One has made more progress than the others, but it's been very slow going. We already have ten cats of our own, and feeding these extra mouths has been tough, but we wanted to give them the best chance we could before sending them off.
Last Sunday we caught two of the kittens and the mother cat (who is pregnant again!) and took them to our local shelter. They were closed (an animal shelter closed on Sunday AND Monday????), but someone was there and came out to speak with us. We were told that they don't do 'spay and release' and would euthanize the mother out of hand, so we decided to take them to an SPCA further away which has a no-kill policy. Unfortunately, THAT shelter won't take ferals over 8 weeks old, and these kittens were at least that old or older when we found them. The reason? They "can't be socialized for adoption". Tell THAT to OUR cats, several of whom were older ferals when we socialized them. The girls there really wanted to help us, but couldn't. They suggested we take them across the street to the county shelter, but they refused them pointblank because "you have a shelter in your area". When we explained it was closed that day and the next, we were ignored and basically told to get lost.
We then did something that I'm not particularly proud of, but we felt we had no choice. We could NOT keep Feral Mom in that tiny trap cage from Sunday through Tuesday without food or water, and we knew she would never allow herself to be trapped again. We also couldn't afford continuing to feed her or her future litter. So we found a very nice neighborhood with some hills behind it that was away from the main street and freeway, and let her go. She's got the skills for survival, and I'm sure there are one or two kindly people living there who put food out for cats and other animals. We just could NOT take her back to that place to be killed simply because she has the misfortune of being born "outside of society", as it were. She is not responsible for her situation; people are. The kittens are being taken to our local shelter, because they do NOT have the survival skills their mom has. They'll have four days to show if they are able to be socialized any further. It's the best we can do for them at this point, as we can't afford to continue to feed them or their future progeny, either. We are totally sick about what happened, and feel responsible, although none of it is actually our fault. (ALL our cats were neutered/spayed as soon as they were old enough or socialized enough to go to the vet, and we keep them indoors as well.)
Unfortunately, this type of stigma isn't limited to feral cats or dogs. If a person doesn't have the knowledge or skills to function 'like everyone else' in our rigidly conformist society, or simply doesn't choose to do so, they are just tossed out, too. Like homeless people, most of whom DO NOT choose to be homeless, or poor, or have mental problems. Goths should understand this, since we are definitely among the misunderstood, no matter how much we may 'blend in' otherwise. The supposedly funny saying, "You're unique -- just like everyone else", isn't very funny when you can't fit your square-peg self into that round hole even if you wanted to... and you don't. Does this make us 'wrong' or 'bad'?? Of course not, just different. But people's perception of those that don't conform to what they consider the norm is different from reality, because each person's reality is the norm for them. If we can't learn to understand and work with that, there will never be peace on this earth until we are all gone.
Bob Seger understood this when he wrote Feel Like A Number. Not a goth band, but this song is definitely something we can relate to. See how it makes you feel...
Thank you for listening to me. I feel better for having said this and made it public. Even if it doesn't change anything, at least I got up and said it.
And PLEASE have your pets spayed/neutered, especially if you let them outside. It will save a lot of grief for everyone, including them.