A year ago I stood in the vet’s office and felt my jaw drop as the words “twelve hundred dollars” rang in my ears. These big three little words were in answer to my inquiry regarding the cost of dental cleaning for my cat. The veterinary doctor calmly explained the importance of proper dental maintenance and suggested I start saving. I (not quite as calmly) protested that, as a full time graduate student, there wasn’t any money to save and that I couldn’t possibly do it. Twelve months later (still twelve hundred dollars lacking) my jaw revisited the very same floor as I realized I was going to have to find a way.
Once again the year is coming to a close. Various holiday traditions and media messaging urge us to reflect and consider what we will resolve to do better next time around. Having learned from years past, and borrowing from the mass experience of the U.S. (and possibly the world) population, I say with confidence that the list must be short and the actions simple. Long lists of lofty resolutions seem to be seldom resolved. Instead, I call to arms all dedicated pet owners to pledge to a simple change that could yield enormous impact. I speak of recycling pet food cans. Continue reading
When we first moved to our current home I was faced with a decision that required serious consideration. For the first time in our four years together, my cat Jefa wanted to go outside. She had always seemed content to remain indoors, free from the dangers and discomforts of the streets from which she came. All that was about to change, however, in a manner that caused me to wonder not only at her dark side, but possibly my own. Continue reading
Growing up in the Bay Area, not to mention ten years spent living in San Francisco, which could arguably be considered a “mecca” of pet fanatics, it has always seemed to me an obvious fact of life that pets are to be treasured and treated with the same respect as their people. In some cases people treat pets with even more respect than their fellow human beings. While I am a dedicated (and perhaps mildly obsessed) cat owner, I feel that society focusing too much energy on one animal may cost many others their lives. In particular, I would like to discuss the placing of pets in homes and the standards which govern this process.
As a Bay Area native I will say the following about my fellow Californians. We are progressive, healthy, activists, early adopters of causes and technology, and most of us care about nature and its creatures. Since we are also human beings who crave companionship many of us find love and satisfaction in the furrier members of our families, as do many across the country, and increasingly, the world. Just as we do for ourselves, we take care in selecting products that will keep our pets healthy and happy. But how often do we consider the health and happiness of the animals that are sacrificed for these products?
Anyone who has experienced the joys of animal companionship would shudder to think of their own pets enduring cruel treatment or neglect. Should we, then, extend the same concern to all animals? The humane treatment of animals, especially as food sources has been heatedly debated for decades. Even among the activists and supporters there is controversy regarding what actually constitutes humane treatment. Continue reading
As a lifelong cat owner/devotee and a recent student of sustainable business, I have become increasingly aware of the environmental impact of pet ownership. In 2009 I read an article hosted by New Scientist which left me with feelings of guilt that caused me to hang my head in shame. I was shocked to read that my early onset “cat-lady” syndrome and my resultant (somewhat obsessive) relationship with my feline companion was contributing to the degradation of the environment at rates equal to SUV ownership.