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Convenience Killed The Cat: Pets are The Victims of a Throwaway Society

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I tend to make a habit of railing against out-of-control consumerism — what I call hyperconsumerism — where people are encouraged to simply junk their old model TVs, fridges, cell phones, and washing machines for new ones, even though the old models still work perfectly well. Surely you know how many people, being the brainwashed-by-advertising sheep that they are, do exactly that.

They junk their stuff, knowing the good little trash fairy will take it all away to a magical place where it’s never seen nor heard from again. Out of sight, out of mind, never mind. Funny that, eh? Most people stopped believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy by the age of 10, but they still apparently believe in the Trash Fairy.

Welcome to the throwaway society. This society pretty much encompasses the entire Western world. In this throwaway society, if it no longer dazzles, no longer pleases, and no longer fits, just throw it away and don’t worry about it. After all, what are you – some kind of commie with all your worrying over the environment and what kind of planet we’re leaving behind for future generations of human beings?

Live for the here and now, damnit! Here, take a ride in my SUV. See how fast it goes and how it just tears up the terrain. Tell me that doesn’t cheer you up! After we’ve torn through 20 miles of forest, we’ll stop off for takeaway food and carry it home in lots of Styrofoam packaging and plastic bags. Don’t you see how convenient it all is?

This live-for-today society, which cares only about convenience, gets on my nerves at the best of times, but now it’s gotten even worse because animals have been dragged into it. Pets are no longer companions, fellow Earthly life forms we share our homes with and that help to keep us at least somewhat grounded in nature.

In Britain, according to a frightening story in today’s Times, the epidemic of pets being seen as commodities to be junked has reached crisis point. “My cat doesn’t match my new carpet,” one pet owner was quoted as saying. Pets have become a commodity to be junked if they no longer dazzle, please, or fit into one’s way of life.

In the space of only one year, the number of abandoned pets has risen by 25 percent. Last year, half of the 7,347 animals abandoned were cats (meaning 3,674 cats). This year alone, so far, the number of abandoned animals rescued by the RSPCA overall is 2,621. As the article states, this is very disturbing considering cats are relatively easy to care for. Dogs and rabbits are also in the majority of pets being thrown away.

If your cat no longer matches your carpet, throw the cat away. Just stuff it in a trash bag and throw it by the side of the road. Surely the carpet is much more important. I mean, what would the neighbors say if your carpet didn’t match the cat!

What have people come to where they cannot distinguish a cat from a carpet, a dog from a washing machine, or a rabbit from a cell phone? What have people come to that, in the name of convenience, they sacrifice their humanity?

How surprising is all this, really? After all, we’re prepared to sentence people in third-world countries to absolute starvation simply to fuel our funky gadgets — which all become “obsolete” in six months’ time — with biofuel! Yes, as long as there’s enough food for us, and enough fuel for us to play Grand Theft Auto, let Africans eat cake. Or nothing. Who cares?

Once people themselves become mere throwaways, you know we’re in trouble. We are truly passing the point of no return here. I always genuinely try to think it’s not too late, but you sure have to have faith, don’t you?

To the lady who cited the cat not matching the carpet as a reason for abandoning her feline companion, I say this: Someday, you will grow old, and when you do, you will require the sort of care only a nursing home can provide. May that nursing home be staffed with the most argumentative and abusive people you’ve ever encountered. May you live another ten years with only them for company.

May they may make you feel like nothing more than a giant pain in the arse, someone who inconveniences them, someone who, as far as they are concerned, should just be “thrown away.” Maybe then you will realize how your cat felt, as well as what a complete fucking retard you are, along with millions of other people just like you.

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  • dougf

    “May they may make you feel like nothing more than a giant pain in the arse, someone who inconveniences them, someone who, as far as they are concerned, should just be “thrown away.” Maybe then you will realize how your cat felt, as well as what a complete fucking retard you are, along with millions of other people just like you.”

    Ditto.

    Frankly the f****** carpet probably had more ‘humanity’ than the twit you quoted in your story. Anyone who can’t look at an animal ‘companion’ and see something worth valuing per se, is a sick and empty vessel. If this is where ‘humans’ are going, then happy I am that I won’t be extant long enough to see the final destination.

    Now at least I know what decadence looks like. No wonder it has a bad rep.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ain’t just Britain either.

    You’ll have a hard time finding a vet in Britain who’ll do it, but in America declawing cats is distressingly standard practice. We have two adopted moggies who were already thus mutilated when we got them. (There’s no way I would countenance the equivalent of amputating the top joints of all your fingers just so the cat doesn’t ruin your furniture.) Because they wouldn’t be able to look after themselves outside, they stay indoors and go stir crazy. We do as much as we can for them by opening the exterior doors with the screens closed when we’re home and if it’s warm enough, but it’s not the same.

    You’d actually think the practice of declawing would act as some kind of deterrent to the throwaway mentality Mark talks about, but sadly this is often still not the case. Our elderly neighbor had two Manx cats. When she had to move to a retirement home, her son simply rented the place out and left the cats behind to fend for themselves, making no effort even to take them to the SPCA. You’d see them sitting outside the next-door house, waiting for the neighbors to get home.

    The new tenants kind of took pity on them and left some food out for them, but the property managers (we live in a condo complex) couldn’t be bothered to call Animal Control despite several complaints.

    The tenants eventually found one dead in their backyard and I found the other one curled up stiff as a board under the carport.

    There are plenty of other homeless cats wandering the complex as well. If we didn’t have our own two…

    Arrgh.

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    Actually, I noticed a huge mistake here, that I did not notice earlier, because I did not read The Times‘ article carefully enough:
    Last year, half of the 7,347 animals abandoned were cats (meaning 3,674 cats). This year alone, so far, the number of abandoned animals overall is 2,621.
    So, I seriously need Diane to edit this piece again for me.

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    Dr. D.: You’re right, Britain is more enlightened than America when it comes to declawing cats. My parents’ cat Jess is declawed (had the operation in 2000), but now that my folks are aware of how cruel it is, they will not be doing it with future cats.

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    Doug: I think decadence is one of the biggest reasons why mankind will fall.

  • STM

    I have had a dog follow me home from a park up the road just about a week into the summer school holidays. He was about a year old.

    We looked after him for a little while, but couldn’t take in another dog permanently, put up posters near the park, went back to the park every day to see if a kid had lost him, and took him to the vet. He was covered in fleas, had lost a lot of weight, had no chip implanted and just seemed happy to be treated kindly. He’d been playing with kids in the park for a week.

    Later, we found out that a guy in a ute (Aussie for pick-up truck) had been seen throwing him out of the vehicle and driving off in the week before the holidays.

    The RSPCA took him in for their adoption program, and told us that it was a common problem: Pets bought say at Christmas, then dumped when they get older and are no longer small or cute (actually, he was a mid-sized cross-breed and was a very cute-looking pup).

    They say it happens every year, and the start of the school holidays is always a time when they get more animals – people go on holidays, or their families break up, and rather than find a new home or a kennel for a dog they don’t really want, they just dump them or hand them to the RSPCA.

    It’s heartbreaking really, as this little fellow obviously just wanted someone to be with.

  • Alexandria Jackson

    Great piece.
    The only comment I have is that this: “…what a complete fucking retard you are..”
    Actually, the mentally retarded, while cognitively challenged, are not typically cruel and callous. And, don’t really care about color coordination in their homes.
    I was trying to think of a substitute insult but couldn’t come up with anything suitable for these heartless monsters. But that insult does a disservice to monsters.

  • http://www.buyingone.com Christopher Rose

    I don’t know what shocks me more, the fact that I, for the first time ever, agree with something written by Mark “Bernard” Manning or his final sentence, which is more typical of his usually excessive rhetoric.

  • http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/39420/joanne_huspek.html Joanne Huspek

    There are shelters and rescues for every kind of animal these days, including ones with pedigrees. When people are tired of their pet, they just get rid of them. This is a terrible turn our society has reached.

  • ostrova

    This kind of story gets me where I live. I have a shelter cat who got in the system when his first family dumped him @ the vet and didn’t return. However, since I hear that lots of pets are getting left behind in foreclosed houses and condos, I wonder if the animals are getting abandoned more often because their people are desperate and give in to easy cruelty because of it,which is different from having to have your pets match your carpet. Watch, there’s gonna be a new Clairol or Revlon line (why not, haven’t you seen toy poodles with nail polish?)–seriously, do we-in-the-larger-sense teach that animals are NOT disposable in these awful ways?

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    C. Rose: “I don’t know what shocks me more, the fact that I, for the first time ever, agree with something written by Mark ‘Bernard’ Manning or his final sentence, which is more typical of his usually excessive rhetoric.”

    Well, I suppose I should take it as something of a compliment that you actually were willing to admit that you agreed with me on this piece, Mr. Christopher “Why Do People Call Me A Liberal?” Rose.

    The last sentence was excessive rhetoric? How so? If you agree with me here, surely you have no love for these types either. Face it, Rose, if you’re blinking angry with someone, you don’t simply say, “Oh what a silly so-and-so you are.” You call them every name under the book. It is a fact that that callous, clueless bitch abandoned an animal that depended on and trusted her, and there are millions more out there just like her. So, again, given my rage at such people, how is calling them “complete fucking retards” excessive rhetoric?

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    …the strangest thing? I thought we weren’t allowed to do articles about cats?

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    PS… we’re not exactly being fair here. I was given a wonderful cat for Chirstmas two years ago and my apartment complex requires cats to not only be fixed, but declawed.

    While the apartment complex is definately unfair, declawing an inside cat isn’t the huge crime it’s cut out to be here. My cat actually seems happier not having me yell and scare her every time she’s about to sharpen her claws on something.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    There are some people I’d throw away before I’d throw away my dogs…

    …and for the record…I believe I was 11 when I found out Santa was a fraud! Taking all that credit for my dad’s Christmas Eve shopping sprees…the nerve of some people!

  • http://www.myspace.com/x15 Douglas Mays

    Yes, yes! And animal shelters are at a crisis level across the USA.

    Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water…

  • http://blogcritics.org/ Phillip Winn

    Jet (#12) Cats as a class are okay, it’s “personal cat-blogging” that we’ve recently decided to end.

    Jet (#13) I’ve lost a friendship over this issue, so believe me when I say it’s contentious! Anti-declawing advocates say that declawing a cat is equivalent to surgically removing two segments from each of your fingers. The counter evidence that my cat was still able to scale a seven-foot fence and kill critters is apparently irrelevant.

    Anyway, my current cat has her claws, but only because she almost always claws only what we’ve set out for her to claw. :-)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Jet: I think the ‘no cats’ (also no dogs, hamsters, iguanas, goldfish, mammoths…) rule refers to articles about, or even in some cases ‘written’ by, individual pets. Mark’s piece addresses a general social issue involving animals.

    I’m sad that your apartment rules gave you no choice about having Mischief declawed. It’s cruel and no reputable vet outside the US will do it. Aside from the fact that declawing involves removal of the top joints of the toes (equivalent to having all your fingers amputated below the nail bed), there are humane alternatives such as claw sheaths. Cats can also (and I realize it’s difficult) be trained not to strop on furniture (or wherever it is you don’t want them to strop).

    In my experience a cat is usually happier if it is allowed to go outside and roam. (And so, incidentally, is the owner, who doesn’t have to cope with the damn moggie’s stir-crazy antics 24/7!) I’ve had cats who chose not to go out, but my current two are the first with whom I’ve had no option but to confine them to the house.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I believe I was 11 when I found out Santa was a fraud! Taking all that credit for my dad’s Christmas Eve shopping sprees…

    I think I was a year or two younger. I more or less figured it out for myself: there were bits and pieces of telltale evidence, like the receipt I found in my stocking (“Santa shops downtown?!?”), and my parents were more than happy to confirm my conclusions. They did continue the pretense for several years afterwards, though, because it’s still fun to wake up and find a stocking full of goodies at the bottom of your bed, no matter who put it there!

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Mammoths???? Doc, exactly how old are you?… and they’re so yesterday’s Flinstone’s news…

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    As for the rest of you :^p~~~~~~ My apartment building changed hands a couple years back and I had two choices-either give up a pet I’d cherished for 10 years, or have him declawed.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Why are there leash laws for dogs, but not for cats? I see cats roaming around all the time…hanging out in front of my house…driving my dogs nuts!

  • Dan Miller

    Mark,

    I take great umbrage at your reference, It is a fact that that callous, clueless bitch abandoned an animal . . . ..

    It’s not that I don’t consider her a callous, clueless, bad jerk; I just wouldn’t call her a “bitch.” That is a gross insult to female dogs. Three of our five dogs (we live on a small farm) are bitches — one Akita pup and two mongrels. Bitches don’t do the sorts of things about which you quite correctly complain. Humans do them. dogs and bitches don’t.

    I know, “bitch” is more often used in reference to disgusting people than to female dogs. It’s just one of my pet peeves, and hope that you can come up with a better expletive.

    Dan