DEAR ABBY: Spring is here, and once again animal rescue workers are preparing for the inevitable: kitten season. Shelters from coast to coast will soon be inundated with pregnant cats, mother cats with kittens and unwanted litters. I am writing to remind people about the importance of spaying or neutering their cats.
Too often we hear about parents wanting to give their children an opportunity to witness the "miracle of birth," so they allow their cat to have one litter. What most people don't know is that they can reduce the feline population by having their own cat spayed or neutered and still participate in the miracle. All they need to do is contact any private or public animal shelter and offer to become foster parents to a pregnant cat. Their offer will be greatly appreciated.
The shortage of foster homes at this time of year is immense. Most shelters, like our own, provide the foster families with support that includes: education about pregnant cats, testing of cats for feline AIDS and leukemia, medical attention when needed, help with supplies if the foster family is unable to pay, spaying or neutering of the mother cats and kittens, and finally -- finding good permanent homes.
Thank you for getting the word out, Abby, and for all your support. -- JACQUELINE WOOD, MEOW CAT RESCUE IN KIRKLAND, WASH.
DEAR JACQUELINE: You have made a terrific suggestion, one I'm sure many people haven't considered.
Parents who want their children to witness the "miracle of birth" and plan to get rid of the cat and her litter should first ask themselves what kind of message they are sending. By adopting your idea, the lesson would be conveyed that pets are more than expendable commodities -- their lives have value.