Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Ad for Adoptions

I'm not a huge football fan. I like high school games with my old friends. And the few college games I attended were great. Somehow though, I have never gotten into professional football.

Because of that, I do not usually attend Super Bowl parties or watch the game. This year, I did flip back to check the commercials, looking for a Pedigree commercial I'd heard about first through HSUS's blog. The magic of the interwebz let me watch the ad on youtube, (Here is the ad in case you missed it during the game) and I genuinely liked it.

I want people to adopt cats, too, but adoption in general needs to be promoted. If all the dogs find homes more quickly, shelters will have more resources to spend on cats.

There tend to be more homeless cats than dogs for a two major reasons.

1. A feral breeding population. In the United States, we do not have packs of wild dogs roaming our cities. We do have legitimate feral cat colonies. These are cats whose moms or dads were house or barn cats, but ended up on the streets. These cats bred with other loose cats, the offspring were not brought back inside, and after a few weeks became feral. Feral cats are behaviorally different from homeless domestic cats, but they still breed together. If the female is a homeless domestic cat, those cats could have good lives if they were brought inside. They would be able to adjust to a home and people so easily, but their mom is homeless so they are. Or, even if their mom isn't homeless, a lot of owners whose cats have unexpected litters just leave the litters somewhere without caring that those kittens will likely either die from the elements, or if they do survive, lead harsh lives producing more litters of kittens to compete for resources. People have a hard enough time controlling their impulses to cut down on unwanted human pregnancies. It's not fair for us to expect cats to do better.

2. Physically, cats are set up to breed quite a bit. Feline pregnancies are about nine-weeks and females tend to have two or three litters of kittens per year. Cats can become sexually mature at the age of four months. Mix these together and that's a lot of kittens being born, growing up, and bearing even more kittens.

I think there's a third reason, but it's based more on anecdotal evidence than science. People seem to give cats up more easily than dogs and less people are willing to adopt a cat. They don't understand that if given attention, cats can be just as affectionate and trainable as dogs. Toby sits on command and is learning to give a high five (velvet paw touch to my left hand). He loves to play fetch. He is not an anomaly in the world of cats. Yes, they do all have their own personalities and cats can be more independent than dogs. I would never leave a dog home for a weekend with bowls of food and lots of water. I have left Toby for a day or two with bowls of dry food around the apartment and multiple bowls of water (I do two bowls of water for each day I'll be gone, at some point I need to give in and purchase a fountain for him if I start traveling regularly).

So please, watch the ad and think about adopting. If you want a dog, think about a dog. If you don't lean either way, please consider a cat. They can be very sweet and there are loads of products out there for allergy sufferers.

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