Earlier this year, I attended a taping of the only show devoted to Real News of the OC, Real Orange, at the former KOCE-TV in Huntington Beach, Calif. The station had just assumed the expanded role of PBS SoCaL. On the studio door, I noticed an unlikely poster of a calico cat showing teeth for the camera, below it the caption: “No matter how hard she cries, do not let her out. It’s a dangerous world out there.” I immediately requested an audience with in-house mouser Koce, pronounced “COH-see.” Cute name, and cute cat, as her kitty candid above demonstrates.
I love cats. I love animals. My local pro bono cause is Los Angeles’ very effective and respected Stray Cat Alliance: I volunteer copywriting skills for this organization, founded more than a decade ago by the progressive Christienne Metropole. Volunteering for a cause I care about brings me peace of mind—just as my cats do. I can’t imagine not having this activity in my life—no matter how demanding my work schedule.
My cats have changed my life for the better, as they have in 38 million U.S. households. Pets may lower our blood pressure and heart rate, reduce anxiety and tension, help us make more human friends, get us up and going when we’d rather not and help us live longer. They bring such us joy—gray tabby BUZY, brought back from New Zealand, chases her tail and her bouncy-balls with such determination she could score a Super Bowl touchdown. I run as hard as she does! Then she poses by my computer keys, awaiting a nuzzle when I need inspiration.
Head-butting Tigerman wraps his soft, orange paw around my arm and licks it, stretched out beside me on the other desk. Both cats really are my “kids,” so much so that my own mother became jealous. I will do without to provide them the best care possible, assisted by pet insurance. No one wants to have to say “no” when presented with the cost of estimated expenses during an emergency.
Save a Shelter Pet
We’ve sadly heard much about the price companion animals have paid during this recession. Here is news from Morris Animal Foundation, dedicated to helping animals enjoy longer, healthier lives by advancing veterinary research. The nonprofit funded a study that assessed relinquishment, adoption and euthanasia rates in cats and dogs.
Good news: “…the study did not provide any conclusive data that more dogs or cats are being surrendered than in previous years or that financial difficulty is a growing reason for relinquishment…However, the research found a clear distinction in the number of people adopting, which has decreased since the recession started in 2007.” Fewer dogs were adopted than cats.
Once owners adopt a pet, current financial burdens have not deterred owners from keeping their pets, said Morris. Financial uncertainties have discouraged many potential owners from adopting new pets, resulting in overpopulated shelters and thus more animals having to be euthanized.
The Humane Society of the United States estimates four million animals are euthanized annually, but the number is likely higher based upon economic factors. That’s heartbreaking. Please consider a shelter pet if you’re seeking a new forever friend to enhance your life. The Shelter Pet Project is a great place to start, as Tiger and BUZY will tell you. Also, in Los Angeles, Stray Cat Alliance. Meow for now…Let me know about your new friend!