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Government kills kittens

mama kitty

I wasn’t going to say anything — who wants to be a harsher of mellows? — but Weasel finds herself with surplus spleen this afternoon. Stand back!

Remember these guys? There’s not much left of this happy family. Last Thursday, I found one of the kittens dead. As she seems to be a good and attentive mother, the Kitteh Man (whose name is Ed, I think) decided it was just one of those things.

Then another died on Friday. And another over the weekend. And another one this morning. They seemed strong and healthy…right up until they didn’t.

It must’ve crossed Ed’s mind that I might be the mad cat poisoner: I’ve been the one to discover all but one of the poor little blighters. (Oh, and let me tell you: if there’s any sight sadder than a dead kitteh, it’s a mama kitteh trying to lick one back to life). But it’s just that I show up first in the morning. I’m a first-shift Crazy Cat Lady.

Mama kitteh became more and more subdued and withdrawn, which I took for grief. But yesterday it was clear that she is ill herself. Kitteh Ed tells me she’s still alive, but very sick “in the back room.” He may be lying.

No clue what’s the matter. I’ve gone from cage to cage, handling every damn cat in the place, so if it’s something infectious…oh, that could be real ugly. But it hasn’t jumped cages yet. Ed, who has surely seen a zillion sick cats in his time, has no idea.

So! One left. The little dark dude on the top of the pile there. He was strong and loud this morning, but Ed said he wasn’t sure the fosterer would get there in time to save him.

So I’m, like, “okay…I’ll foster him.”
And he says, “you can’t. We can’t either. It has to be someone registered to foster.”
And I say, “well, what do I have to do to get registered?”
He shakes his head, “ohhh…you have to put in an application with the DEM and go in for an interview, and then they come out and inspect your place…” he trailed off and flapped his hands. It’s why they’re chronically short of people who can foster.

Oh, I know why the rules are there. Even with the best intentions, mishandling baby animals can be the functional equivalent of torturing them to death. But Ed could’ve worked out in five minutes if I’ve ever hand reared kittens (I have) and whether turning a kitteh over to me was better than the alternative (duh).

This is what happens when people believe that rules work better than judgement. If we trust people to behave professionally, sometimes they’re going to let us down. But pre-empting people with rules will let us down MUCH more often, because crisis is fluid but rules are blind and inflexible.

It’s nuts to think that more rigid rules mean fewer bad things happen. Hey, you know what? Government kills kittens.

June 17, 2008 — 2:58 pm
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