Few days ago I saw few hungry cats while touring Jaffa. Some people in my group had compassion for them, bought food and fed the cats. It was mentioned that street cats should be neutered, so that they’ll not have kittens who are going to lead a life of hunger and misery.
I would like to consider the issue from another point of view.
Suppose YOU are offered the choice of:
- Being taken care of, being well fed – but you must accept being sterilized. Then you would not have progeny. There would be no future for you.
- Being left to fend for yourself, to succeed or fail on your merits, and then you’ll be spared sterilization. Then you would have a chance for a future.
Which of those alternatives would you choose?
No matter which alternative will you choose, several people would make the opposite choice.
The problem is that before we neuter cats, we are unable to ask them what is their preference, so we do not ask them. We patronize over them and assume that we know that it is better for them to have cozy present but no chance for a future.
Or else, we allow them to have litters of kittens, most of whom would die of hunger and diseases – just for the chance that some of them will be successful in the unfriendly world, into which they are born.
This reminds me of the ideological conflict between socialism and capitalism, which existed until the 1980’s, when people hit upon the present way of combining the safety net style of socialism with exploratory capitalism.
Previously, it was believed that it is possible to have only either regime which takes care of its people but offers them no future, no reason to have a gleam in their eyes – or regime, in which people do not take care of each other, in which people indulge in cutthroat competition, in which there are several losers and few winners – but people can hope for glorious future.
The human solution does not work for cats, because humans have access to fertility control technology and can reversibly control their fertility. In the case of cats, we make the decision for them. And usually we make the decision according to our squeamishness of letting kittens die if they lose in the competition over the cruel world’s resources, so we neuter the cats.