Whenever I see the issue of stray animals being raised, it is often followed by a call to owners to be responsible and not abandon their pets. Even if there were a collective shift in mindset among these irresponsible individuals, stray animals would not suddenly disappear from commercial and residential areas.
I believe the less discussed issue is cat theft.
A while back, a friend told me she had taken home a “very pretty cat”. When pressed for more details, she admitted that she had found it strolling in a residential area and lured it into her car. It didn’t bother her that the cat had a collar.
I tried to make her understand how devastating it would be for the owner, but she insisted it would be fine as she was prepared to shower it with love.
Not even a week later, the cat managed to escape and most likely tried to find its way home, which was in an entirely different zone. Whether or not it succeeded is anyone’s guess but whenever I see a stray cat now, I wonder if it was more of a case of it being lost and not abandoned.
We can continue to call for responsible pet ownership; and we should. But until we start treating these pets as living beings instead of possessions, some of them will continued to be abandoned or snatched.