This past weekend, I found a litter of stray kittens in my neighborhood. I attempted to capture them to send to a local shelter where they would have a chance at finding a permanent home. The kittens scattered when I approached, and I was only able to catch the slowest moving of the bunch. This kitten was very sick, with an infection in his eye that was leaking all over his face.
I took him to the vet with the intention of paying for some antibiotics, nursing him back to health, having him neutered then turning him in to the Humane Society for adoption because I already have two lovely dogs, the maximum number of pets allowed by my landlord. Unfortunately, the vet exam proved much worse than I thought. The kitten had a serious respiratory infection; his infected eye was irreversibly damaged and would have to be removed. His pulse rate was a third of what it should have been, and his body temperature was 10 degrees colder than a healthy kitten. The vet advised the most humane thing to do was euthanasia because even if he did recover from the infection, it would not be a full recovery, and he would still lose his left eye. With a heavy heart, I signed the euthanasia papers, knowing that at the very least, this furry little kitten spent one night in a home full of love and care.
I was devastated that this poor kitten never had a chance. Between the vet exam and subsequent euthanasia, I spent more money on this kitten than it would have cost to spay or neuter either of his parents. This kitten's story ended sadly, but it is a preventable one. I urge you, your friends, and your neighbors to spay and neuter your pets. It is the simplest, most effective way to prevent unwanted puppies and kittens wandering the streets and meeting the same unfortunate end.
Abbey Donahue, ColumbiaCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun