Sunday, February 05, 2006

Passive Cruelty.

Owning pets can be great. They are affectionate, loyal, good for the blood pressure and easy company. Conversely they can be a pain in the arse: they can be needy, noisy, vets bills can scare you and you always need someone to mind them if you go anywhere.
I own some cats, three to be exact. They are all rescues, two of them are getting on a bit and one of them is only 3. The youngest one is skittish, but he likes yoghurt, dougnuts and beer. I think he is very funny, dumb as a box of rocks, but funny. He is a champion fly killer.
The biggest of the cats is a chatty sort of guy. He hangs off my desk every day when I work. He is there now. I can reach out and scratch the top of his head right this second. The oldest of them, well she's just an old slob and she sleeps a lot, I've had her nearly 14 years. She understands about fifteen different words and has a very distinct call for me, which I think is ferociously cute.
They are mine, I like them, even though they do nothing and use one of my sofas as a scratching post no matter how many times I throw the newspaper at them. I own them, ergo I am responsible for them, their health and their well being. That is fine, it was my choice when I took them on and I don't mind in the slightest. Except for ear-cleaning Friday, that I could do without.
The son of the couple across the road has a bulldog/staffy type of some kind. It is a young dog, strong, energetic, intelligent, no more than eighteen months old or so. I know this because I know when he got the dog. The son in eighteen/nineteen and in college all day long. The mother -naturally enough- does not want a big bouncy dog in her apartment during day.
So this dog lives 23.5 hours a day, seven days a week, on a terrace a bit bigger than my kitchen. I can see him when I hang washing out on my line. He looks over at me, wags his tail and peers hopefully over the ledge. Sometimes he barks in the evening when the parents are home, a slow monotonous sharp bark that continues for up to an hour at a time. It is not his fault, he is simply bored rigid.
Sometimes I think of what it must be like for him. He has maybe another 10 years of this life. 10 years of sitting day after day, staring at the four blank walls of the terrace, sniffing the air, watching out for the lady across the way to hang out her clothes and call a few nice words over the space.
It really breaks my heart.
What is the point? Why have that animal? The owner gets no pleasure from him, he spends every Saturday morning grumpily hosing and disinfecting down the terrace, (I dread to think what it is like during the week) He takes the dog out at night, half an hour, tops, no more that that. There is no other interaction so what enjoyment does he get from that poor dog?
Dogs are social creatures. They like company, they like to be with the family, they like snoring in front of a fire or lying under your feet where you work. They like going out and about during the day, they like a game of chase, they like chewing giant pieces of stick and playing games, they like it when you stick your foot out and rub their bellies with your foot when you are on the phone.
Buying a pup and putting him out on a terrace for endless years is a selfish and thoughtless act. The isolation creates a vicious, unsocial, poorly mannered, lonely dog.
It is the ultimate act of passive cruelty.


Blogger Mynah Bird said...

I never realised you had a blog, FMCat. I just clicked one of your comment signatures by chance. Have you ever considered getting a talking bird as a pet? I expect it might be difficult now with your cats.

10:46 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

It would never work Mynah, it would have to be the size of a condor to survive the bigger of the cats. I've once saw him dispatch a magpie that was nearly as big as himself.

10:51 a.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

That is the ultimate in cruelty and stupidity. Can you steal the dog and give it to a better owner? I'd try.

3:58 p.m.  
Blogger Kim Ayres said...

In case you didn't see it, you might enjoy Joke Mail's entry from a few days back about the difference between cats and dogs:

4:32 p.m.  
Blogger Dr Maroon said...

So what are you going to do?

5:08 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

What can I do? I've spoken to DSPCC and they say as long as it has shelter-which it has, is well fed, and not in immediate harm, there is really nothing they or I can do about it. And short of my doing a Bond/Mission Impossible stunt across the great divide and a six story drop to a dog that would probably-despite his friendly demeanor- savage me the minute I set foot on the terrace, I'm pretty much stumped.
But it is maddening. I've spoken to her-the mother-about it before, you know all smiles, casually suggesting a terrace is no place for an animal that size, blah blah, but she claims it is her son's animal and it has nothing to do with her.

5:43 p.m.  
Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

Talking bird, my arse. What you really need, Ms Cat, is a pet gorilla to help you with your stretching exercises. How high can you lift your foot?

5:58 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Over my head Mr GB, over my head!

6:13 p.m.  
Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

I'll be damned. That's probably high enough to rest your ankle on my shoulder.

7:34 p.m.  
Blogger Jokemail said...

Thanks for commenting over at my site. I did wonder why you suddenly commented on that one, then I saw Kim's link to it from here.

I am something of a link whore, so did you want to exchange links?

7:40 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I'm nearly able to do the splits too, my kickboxing instructor is insisting I master it. Something to do with hip flexors, but golly, it is tough going.
Jokemail, that was terrifically funny and when I set up the links on the side I shall indeed include yours.

7:46 p.m.  
Blogger Monstee said...

Indeed a very sad situation.

At least lady across way calls a few nice words over space when she does hang out her clothes. And that may well be worth watching out for. Do what you can FMC, no matter how small.

What really gets to me about you story am that you know despite being ignored, despite being deprived of fulfilling life, despite being kept in living conditions worse than most criminals... you KNOW that dog am giving back unconditional love. Oh, what different world this would be if pets treated us the way we truly deserved sometimes.

9:28 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I know Monstee, I know. It is horrible how ignorant people are really.

10:14 a.m.  
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