Poverty & Pets

Last week a friend of mine found on the street and rescued a beautiful, elderly (12 year old) cat that she saw on her block one morning. She suspected it belong to people in a ‘problem’ building on her block but found him, took him to the vet with help from the shelter that she knows, and got him help. 

The condition he was in was so, so heart breaking. He was dirty, not fixed (so he was knocking up strays all over the neighborhood), five pounds underweight, had breathing problems (because his humans smoke who-knows-what in their apartment), and had cuts on his face and neck (probably from being outside, not from his humans). He stayed at the vet two nights (getting fixed, getting his shots, leukemia testing, etc) and then my friend took him home for a night to her apartment where she gave him a bath.

Unfortunately, the social worker that came in to help said that since there were no signs of abuse, they technically couldn’t remove the cat from the home just because he was neglected.

What?! If this were a child, neglect would be more than enough reason to remove it from the home. I was absolutely baffled. The humans of this cat have a four year old son, which is even more worrisome. Apparently the cat is a great source of happiness to the child, which would make it heartbreaking to take the cat away.

My friend argued that just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be allowed to have pets. I told her we’d have to agree to disagree, because I fully believe that if you have trouble taking care of yourself, don’t bring an animal into the mix and make it suffer, too. I don’t think that is a very unreasonable thing to think. 

I know there are endless cycles of poverty that I don’t know the half of because I’ve never experienced them, but I do know that I’d feel awful having a pet if I couldn’t take care of it properly. If you can’t feed and take your cat to the vet once a year, you shouldn’t be allowed to have it. End of story.

On the flip side, if you’re rich and neglect your pet, you also shouldn’t be allowed to have them either. If you’re going to adopt an animal, make sure you can properly take care of it, otherwise, don’t bother. 

My friend is going to check up on the cat and try to convince his humans that they should give it up, but who knows what’ll happen. I hope the cat is treated better this time though. 

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