Parents often allow the family dog, or cat, to have a litter. This being so their children can witness what is called “The Miracle of Birth”. They justify it as though it were some important life lesson.
In six to eight weeks time they give away the kittens and pups and maybe finally show what the kids should have seen in the first place, a lesson of responsibility, and have the pet spayed.
Unfortunately there are problems every step of the way.
Very occasionally the pet has a problem either with pregnancy, delivery, or after birth. Sometimes requiring expensive surgery, sometimes dying, sometimes rejecting the litter.
But that is not the worst of it!
Sometimes when its time to get rid of the kittens or pups the children beg mom to let them keep one. While this might seem good, at times the parents agree but they get rid of the less-cute mother animal along with the remaining litter because they do not want too many pets.
Adult pets seldom find new homes, especially when not spayed or neutered already.
Although personally I have only adopted adult animals, the puppy is cuter and more likely to get a home.
Now whether or not they keep the adult animal, or a kitten or pup, things start to get nasty on the day its time to find new homes for the litter. You see, every week more animals are born than there are homes for. An average cat litter has 4 – 6 kittens, the average dog litter has 4 – 8 puppies, with larger dogs having more than smaller dogs, and larger dogs being in less demand.
So the family may or may not successfully find homes for their pets offspring, chances are they won’t. But.. they think they did. In some areas (including the USA) it is perfectly legal to accept “Free to Good home” pets and sell them to research labs.
People will come looking like they want a family pet, they are professionals. It gets worse, some will come for free kittens to be used for snake food. Some will come to take them to be used to train illegal fighting dogs to kill, and it goes down hill from there, some serial killers confessed they started by torturing, and killing, free to good home pets.
The best thing a person can do when their pet has a litter is to take it to the animal shelter. Even the shelter cannot guarantee every animal brought to them will find a home. No-Kill shelters try to find pets homes, but even they are not always successful, and eventually get so full they turn animals away.
Here is where we get to the lesson part.
Some people try to avoid taking unwanted pets to the shelter and turn them loose in the country, of course this often sees the pet meet a worse end, as coyotes prey on stray pets, farmers shoot them, even eagles and owls will snap up smaller animals to be a dinner.
If parents insist on allowing their pet to have a litter so kids can see the miracle of birth, they should be responsible enough to show them what happens when people allow pets to have litters with no guarantees of them having a permanent home.
They should be there when the veterinarian has to stick a needle into a 6 week old kitten to end its life.
Let them watch as the tiny being vomits its last meal and urinates… In the USA alone this happens to over 4 million animals a year, and it is still a better death than many of the unwanted animals shall face.
And it’s not like they’re going to get some grand space funeral either. Most of the carcasses are simply thrown into the furnace, cremated and the ashes disposed of like any other garbage or waste.
You see… for every kitten, or pup, born that does find a home, there is one more who will not.
Please, if you are thinking of breeding an animal so your children can learn about the miracle of birth, remember the ultimate lesson they still have to learn, is the lesson of responsibility, that every animal born will not find a home.