Contributor Archive

Prevent a Litter: Fix Your Critter

Friday, March 20th, 2009


This morning my 3 cats watched with anticipation as I filled their food bowls. Today is the 1-year anniversary of the day Stanley, my 2-year-old dog, found the litter of kittens with their mother in the bushes in my backyard.

That morning I was in the house when I heard Stanley barking in the yard.  It was his “there is an animal that doesn’t belong in the yard” bark.  A momma cat had evidently moved her litter of 3 kittens into a box in the bushes. The stray momma cat has since been spayed, the 3 kittens, Dominic, Harvey, and Fluffy, have been neutered, micro-chipped, and now live with me.

My intention was to foster them and find them good homes. I tried for months, with ads in the paper, signs around town, etc., but there were no takers. The shelters were overflowing, and I could not bring myself to turn them into animal control. Of course they are now “my boys,” and you could not take them from me if you tried. This is, however, a reminder of the importance of spaying and neutering.

Each spring animal shelters all over the country fill up quickly due to the number of cats and kittens that are turned in.  The Humane Society of the United States estimates that each year approximately 2 million cats and kittens are brought into shelters. Approximately 70% of these relinquished kitties are euthanized each year. Since most do not have ID collars or microchips, their owners cannot be located. The cats that do not make it into a shelter become strays. An un-spayed female cat, her mate, and all of their offspring can produce 11,000 kittens in just 5 years!

The solution to the cat over-population problem is simple. It begins with every cat owner being responsible enough to get their cats fixed. This is just as important for indoor-only cats.  No one can guarantee that the cat will never make a break for it and make it outside where they will encounter un-fixed cats.There are also many behavioral and health benefits to spaying and neutering.

There aren’t enough homes for them all. Please spay and neuter your pets and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Introducing Stanley

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Stanley was born under a pile of construction rubble in Mexico on Dec 6, 2006.

Sadly, one week later he became an orphan.  Through an honest gringa mistake at the border crossing, the wrong word for “puppy” in Spanish was used when describing what was in the box. “CUCHARA,” the Spanish word for spoon, is awfully similar to the Spanish word for puppy, “CACHORRO.” The litter of 9 “spoons” made it through customs and back to San Diego.  Ann, Chinaberry’s founder, brought the little ones to work with her the next day as they needed to be bottle fed every few hours. That is when I met Stanley for the first time. The litter was about 2 weeks old at this point.  Unfortunately, they were not thriving.   A sad Christmas Eve was spent in the emergency veterinary clinic. Only one puppy was diagnosed to have any chance of surviving, and that he did.

Stanley’s first few months of life here in San Diego were spent being schlepped back and forth to work with me every day along with a dog pen, pee pads, puppy formula, bottles, clean blankets, washcloths, and towels.  As the months progressed, toys were added to the trunk full of supplies.

Stanley is now over 2 years old and quite a character. I keep waiting for him to grow out of his puppy stage and wonder if he ever will. One of his favorite places to visit is Chinaberry.  He can hardly contain himself when we pull into the parking lot. His excitement runneth over as he systematically visits all of his friends in various parts of the building.

His constant canine companion is a 4-year-old shepherd mix named Stella, along with 4 cats (three of the cats are brothers from a litter that I fostered last year). If you have an idea what Stanley’s breed is let me know!

Who knew that a life begun under a pile of rubble in Mexico would end up bringing such joy to so many people.