(deleted stuff due to new "blogging policy" at work and personal info on employees)
Anyway, being an animal hospital, the woman started talking about her indoor/outdoor kitten at the end of the meeting. I forget what exactly she was saying about the cat, because I couldn't believe that here was an intellgent 30-ish looking woman, AND SHE DIDN'T KNOW THAT SHE SHOULD NEUTER HER INDOOR/OUTDOOR KITTEN. Now, it's not really that this particular woman didn't know, but how she was talking about "Oh this cat got this one pregnant, and I didn't know which one was mine, etc" as if this was all commonplace (which I know it unfortunately is). I know that a lot of people don't understand how important it is for animals to be sterilized, and I know a lot of people have so many other things on their mind that it doesn't occur to them as a priority. But this woman seemed averagely smart, averagely aware of important issues, but she didn't realize that she is playing a part in the overpopulation issue.
T immediately stepped up and told her how big of an issue the cat population is, that the hospital is involved in sterilization of feral and stray cats, and that she should get the kitten neutered ASAP to prevent more babies. (All in a friendly, conversational, non-preachy way, of course...) And I started telling her about males fighting and spraying, and possibly spreading disease, all of which are major incentives to get the kitten neutered. She didn't know this more specific stuff about *why* it's good to get pets sterilized, but it was surprising that she didn't think it was important in the first place, even (*especially*) to simply prevent more babies.
I mean, the animal-loving community is here to spread important, vital information on pet care, but it is surprising to me at times how little info the general population is in possession of. And sad, because the more educated we are on these topics, the better care we can provide to the animals living in our communities. It is important that we spread the message of spay and neuter, but we need to remember that people need to know *why* to sterilize their pets. We can't just say "overpopulation" and expect them to understand. We have to say "no pets in heat. Less fighting. Less spraying. Less wandering. Less spread of disease, especially in males. Less reproductive cancers/issues in females. Calmer animals (usually, right?)"
I think we forget that the people who don't work with animals simply don't know what we do. I forget this all the time. They don't know why over the counter meds don't work, they don't know why they're puppy can't just have one litter before she's fixed, they don't know that unneutered male cats are many times more likely to get FIV. So yeah, it's all about education. And NOT JUDGING PEOPLE at the same time. B/c I know very little about human medical shit, and I'm sure my step-mom thinks to herself "I can't *believe* she hasn't been to the doctor in that long!"
Definitely something worth thinking about.