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8 Reasons Not to Let Nature Run Its Course (GRAPHIC)

Written by Alisa Mullins | August 11, 2014

Two teenage boys were hanging out by a creek in Clendenin, West Virginia, when they saw a man pull off the road and toss two bags into the water. The boys were close enough to hear squeaking sounds coming from the bags, so one of the teens immediately jumped into the water and grabbed the bags. Inside, they found five tiny kittens, not even a week old. “The fact that someone would be so cruel as to do that!” said one of the boys. “Times are tough—I understand that. But there’s always a better answer than that. Always.”

He’s right, but even though there’s a simple and easy solution to animal overpopulation—spaying and neutering—some people still refuse to do the right thing and animals suffer as a result, especially at this time of year.

PETA_investigation_kitten_season

When the days get longer, female cats’ reproductive cycles peak, leading to two or even three litters per cat before winter sets in. For cats without homes, the season brings even more than the usual amount of fear, worry, and hardship. Pregnant females search for safe places to give birth. Abandoned buildings, drain pipes, corners of seldom-used garages, and crawl spaces under houses, porches, and sheds are often all they have to choose from, affording no real comfort or safety. Internal and external parasites, along with scorching temperatures in summer, are a struggle even for strong and otherwise healthy cats and are often deadly for nursing mothers and newborns.

For animal shelters, “kitten season” brings a flood of abandoned and homeless kittens, but with the increasing popularity of so-called “no-kill” policies, some shelters are simply refusing to accept cats when they run out of room and are promoting trap-neuter-return programs rather than trapping and sheltering feral cats. Even proponents of these policies admit that they are sentencing cats to death (and not a peaceful, painless one in an animal shelter). In Mesa County, Arizona, for example, the Roice Hurst Humane Society uses the euphemism “letting nature run its course” to describe its policy of allowing cats to die lingering, painful deaths on the streets.

Kittens are perhaps the most vulnerable of homeless animals. Tiny and helpless, they frequently fall prey to predators, inclement weather, deadly contagious diseases, and cruel people.

One study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that 75 percent of free-roaming kittens died or disappeared before they turned 6 months old. Trauma was the most common cause of death.

PETA’s fieldworkers receive even more calls than usual this time of year about kittens who are in trouble, unwanted, and/or abandoned. Our fieldworkers often arrive on the scene to find kittens who are desperately ill, dying, or, in some cases, already dead.

Only about a week old, this tiny kitten was already suffering from ear mites, fleas, worms, anemia, and an upper respiratory infection.

Wedlon, Kitten Season (Graphic)

These three kittens were all suffering from upper respiratory infections so severe that their eyes had developed ulcers, and they were all blind.

Gaston, Kitten Season (Graphic)

Very sick kitten (GRAPHIC)

Gaston, Kitten Season (GRAPHIC)

This kitten was mortally wounded after being hit by a car, but was still alive when our fieldworkers stumbled upon her on the way back from another call. They were able to end her suffering.

Kitten Hit by Car (graphic)

A Good Samaritan brought this severely injured newborn kitten to PETA’s Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters after waiting more than an hour for local animal control to respond.

Kitten Bleeding From Mouth {graphic

Only one kitten out of this litter of five was still alive when PETA found them. Their illnesses and injuries included upper respiratory infections, diarrhea, anemia, ear mites, a broken leg, a chest wound, an abscessed bite wound, and scars from earlier wounds.

Litter of Dead or Dying Kittens (GRAPHIC)

These kittens are just a small sampling of the millions who lost the battle to survive a harsh life on the streets. Those who do survive, even for just a year, can go on to breed and continue the cycle of suffering and death. That is why it is vital to spay and neuter all cats, never to allow cats to roam outdoors unattended, and to pick up strays and take them to reputable, open-admission shelters that accept all animals and don’t turn them away to let “Mother Nature” do the dirty work.

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  • Gülbahar says:

    How can one be like this, don’t you have any empathy at all? If you’re not willing to take care of your pets, thank don’t get a pet! No creature deserves this, what gives you the right to take someone else’s life like that? Very disrespectful and selfish that is!

  • Emma Narciso says:

    I think the best solution is to bring female cats to your veterinary to have them spayed. That way, they will not multiply that cause people to throw them away. I did it to my cats. Now, i can give them enough loving care and they have longer lives.

  • Omari says:

    So sad. Taking action NOW.

  • love4703 says:

    Yes I agree on this idea.. I keep telling my friends n family to do that but for them this idea were crazy n wasting money :(

  • Anissa A. says:

    This is horrible! I’ve never been fond of cats. Their mere presence scared me. I’ve had bad experiences with some alley cats in the past. A week ago, my husband came home with a kitten maybe about a month old. She changed my sttitude towards cats I love her like my own baby and just seeing the pics above breaks my heart. She looks just like the black and white kitten above. It could’ve been her or any one of her siblings but thankfully the person who found the mother and litter had some humanity enough to take them in and find homes for them at an appropriate time. THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO DEAL WITH UNWANTED PETS!!!!!!

  • We have four cats of which 3 are brothers who were born right on my couch by their feral mother, whom I caught and brought home. The youngest female was a baby stray and I caught her and brought her home too. They are well and fine. We had them all fixed. But I found that most people don’t have their cats spayed or neutered because of the cost. I myself couldn’t believe how expensive it was-I even sold some jewelry to help pay for it. We are not rich but most people cannot even afford one cat to be fixed. Isn’t there any way to get the cost down to about 10 to 12 dollars? Then I am sure more people would do it.

  • etienne says:

    I wonder which kind of people this is, they are far from normal, it scares me so much to see what these monsters are capable of doing to cats. I mean it’s very important that such horrible beasts get caught, and gets a hard punishment. Because if not, they will become dangerous killers!

  • Marc Barnes says:

    This just breaks my heart.

  • Hollie says:

    I have to boys, they are my family, in fact my two year daughter calls them her brothers, I never let my boys outside unattended,but sadly around my apartment complex there are at least three cats maybe more that are strays just coming up for food, if I have extra and sometimes even if I don’t I feed them because I know no one else will, I’m an animal lover and to see these cats out here is heartbreaking because I know they would have homes if it wasn’t for irresponsible pet owners. I try to fed all the animals I see, I even carry wet food around so if I see a cat, dog,ect then I know at least they will have one good meal, if I see any injured or sick animal I make sure and get them help as fast as I can. I don’t understand why more people can’t do the same, has our society really become that heartless? I wish people would change and be more kind to gods creatures!

  • Emma Henry says:

    Thanks for posting. I know a lot of the Peta criticism revolves around the kill/no kill debate. Spreading awareness about the realities of their lives is crucial for people to make informed decisions rather than blinkered presumptions.

  • Loretta Rose says:

    I HATE humans that act so abhorrently to defenseless Mammals. WTF

  • michelle says:

    It should be a law to have a pet it must be fixed. I have never let my pets have babies too many out in the world need homes to bring more.

  • ROBERTA says:

    So heartbreaking that humans have no heart or soul! KARMA to those that are that evil!!!

  • julie says:

    That’s not right animals deserve better care then that that’s gross

  • lisa says:

    This happens every year im from the uk i have cats im also a cat fosterer i rehabilate the ferals so they have a chance to have a loving home my cats help by teaching them how to be a cat we loose some and save some its heartbreaking when some dont survive us humans have caused this we are to blame get your pets done then no animal needs to go through this

  • Selma Cooper says:

    If people are not aware with all the information out there that cats and dogs NEED TO BE NEUTERED so we don’t have to see them being killed because they are breeding more and more babies. Don’t let me every hear a person say again that they need to have at least one litter..that is nonsense. Always adopt from the humane Society and never from one of these breeders who in my opinion should not be allowed in the business…

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