When Non-destruction Shelters Fail

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Honeybun
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When Non-destruction Shelters Fail

Postby Honeybun » Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:02 pm

As most of you know I now work a few hours in a rescue centre (where I worked full time before having the baby). The centre has a non-destruction policy but unfortunately this means there are lots of older/elderly cats living out their lives there. They are all lovely but, in my and the rest of the staff's opinion, they are going to be there until they die. I mean who wants to take on a cat that isn't going to last much longer? Don't get me wrong, all us staff love these cats, but it's heartbreaking knowing this is it for them and we're just prolonging their misery until they either die or are pts. And it's us having to deal with it. As much as we talk to our managers about this their hearts are ruling their head.

As well as this we have to deal with way too many unwanted kittens and we staff feel it would help us so much if cats were spayed whilst pregnant (we used to do it), but again the managers won't allow it now and kittens are growing up with us.

A non-destruction policy works for timid/nervous cats that have been with us a while but only if they're not elderly cats. My favourite two girls have been there for three years now (along with one or two others) but they are healthy, if not a bit fat, and they just need to find the right people. It doesn't work if all you're doing is collecting old cats that, to be frank, any other rescue centre would pts straight away.

Well done if you've got this far, this is an issue I've been dealing with for years and I just needed to get it of my chest.
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Ireneb
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Re: When Non-destruction Shelters Fail

Postby Ireneb » Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:50 am

I may be shot down in flames by some forum members, but I am inclined to agree with you, Honeybun.

Nobody wants to put cats to sleep, but if they're unwell, won't get better, miserable and really not rehomeable, there are times when the head has to rule the heart.

Having the shelter full of cats who can't be rehomed means no space for cats who could benefit from that.

I know a lot of shelters have a blanket policy of not putting cats to sleep, I'd prefer them to be more nuanced than that.
I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals. -- Winston Churchill

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Honeybun
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Re: When Non-destruction Shelters Fail

Postby Honeybun » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:23 am

I don't know who would shoot you down in flames, Irene, it's not good for the cats, us and any visitors we have at the rescue.

Admittedly our policy has saved a good few cats that would have otherwise been pts and nursed them back to a full recovery at great expense but for the elderly cats it's no way to live. The trouble is, all of the conditions they're being treated for are manageable if, say, you'd had the cat for years living in a family environment. Hell, two of my elderly cats are on medication and have old age issues but they're not confined to a pen 23 hours a day.

If we were to do the kind thing for these cats we would instantly free up nearly ten rescue places other needy cats could have. My rescue is good in that we do make some cats residents meaning they can come and go as they please (if anyone wants to adopt them they still can) but with six current residents more aren't feasible for the time being.
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Ireneb
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Re: When Non-destruction Shelters Fail

Postby Ireneb » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:23 am

This is interesting because it is modern veterinary medicine that is keeping them going (*)

Similar dilemma to humans, really, where many of us can expect to go into old age surviving with conditions that would have killed us 150 years ago. Only we don't have a vet to do the kind thing at the end of our life, much as we would wish that.

One of the arguments of pro-euthanasia supporters is that we are kinder to our animals than our humans in that respect!

(*) not looking forward to getting steroid pills into Rani once her latest jab wears off. The vet did say to start on one a day and then taper off to one every other day, see how that goes, to get her on the lightest dose possible. And save our fingers :-)
I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals. -- Winston Churchill

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Re: When Non-destruction Shelters Fail

Postby shaza » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:11 am

Not quite the same HB but at my last house my neighbour had her cat pts at home after talking about it for a couple of years.

I didn't tell her but I thought she should have done it when she first thought of it instead of dragging it out for 2 or 3 more years: the cat made it to 23 years old in the end. She was mostly toothless, half blind and deaf, had dementia (they thought), was very very thin, eventually was incontinent and couldn't make it out the cat flap or even up the stairs. It seemed cruel to me to keep her going for so long.

And a few years ago when Tonic was ill with congestive heart failure we had several tablets of meds per day (which he was not happy about) and many trips to the vets including having bits shaved off so they could drain his lungs. Poor baby was so stressed and unhappy it broke my heart. He died in the end at the vets. His life had only been extended another 2 or 3 months after diagnosis. And I felt terrible for putting him through all that. I would not do that again and put my pet through so much distress for so little benefit. I don't think prolonging life for the sake of prolonging it is good enough. There has to be a quality of life too.

Now Gin, on the other hand, is just on his thyroid meds and seems happy enough. He doesn't like trips to the vet, but cheeky devil has already learned that once we get home he gets tuna so he makes a beeline for his bowl.


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