I am just going to share a really quick rant about something very dear to my heart: animal adoption.

There are about 70 million stray animals living in the U.S. Of this 70 million, only about six to eight million cats and dogs enter the nation’s shelters every year, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Of those animals taken into shelters, only about 3 million are adopted. The rest are euthanized.

And yet so many people ignore the plight of these innocent, homeless animals, and turn to breeders. Now the topic of breeding itself is extensive (how cruel the process is for the animals being used to breed, the painful genetic defects as a result of the process, the pitiful conditions at the VAST majority of breeders, the abuse and neglect etc.) and it could take books to really get across how vile the breeding industry really is. But there are so many resources out there that I won’t take the time to go into it, just PLEASE do some research of your own to see for yourself. Don’t be willfully ignorant when there are innocent little fur babies at stake!

In regards to my rant, the main reason to avoid breeding animals is that for every puppy or kitten who is produced by any breeder, an animal awaiting adoption at an animal shelter loses his or her chance at finding a home—and will be euthanized.

Any person who knows the facts and STILL chooses to go to breeders rather than a shelter has absolutely no business being a pet owner. When you choose to shop at a breeder you are stating that animals are simply here for your enjoyment, and that as long as your animals looks exactly the way you want, it doesn’t matter that your pet is riddled with painful genetic defects. You are saying it doesn’t matter that the mother of your pet has been subjected to a life of agony. You are saying that it doesn’t matter that millions of sweet animals are starving or freezing or dehydrating to death, or wasting away in shelters. You want your pet to look a certain way, so nothing else matters. Shame on you.

As most of you know I had a rescue kitty named Momo, and I had her for over 14 years. She wasn’t any particular breed, there was nothing especially remarkable about the way she looked. However she was the most loving, loyal, funny little kitty in the whole wide world. She was rescued from a bad situation, and she was just so grateful to be in a loving home. She loved me just as much as I loved her, and it never once mattered to me that she didn’t come with pedigree paperwork. When she passed away, it was one of the most painful, heartbreaking days of my life.

My heart still hurts from missing my little baby, but I know there are so many animals that needs homes. So about a month after Momo want to the Heaviside Layer, my husband and I headed to the local humane society to adopt a new fur baby. There were about 20 cats living in cramped little cages, each of them there for different reasons. Some were abandoned by their families, some were rescued from abusive or neglectful situations, others were neighborhood strays. But each and every one of those kitties was sweet and special in their own way, and every single one of them was blatantly desperate for love. Each cat I spent time with absolutely clung to me, as if I was their last hope for a real life. And for many of them I probably was their last hope. I wish I could have taken all of them, and it was torture to have to say no to them.

We ended up adopting the cat who had been there the longest. His shelter name was Gentry, and he had been there about a year. He is just a basic tabby cat, nothing especially remarkable about his looks. He kept getting passed over for small kittens, or for more “exotic” looking cats, and had only left his cramped little cage a handful of times that year. But I knew the second I held him in my arms that he was going to be my baby. I can’t quite put into words how I knew, there was just something about the way he looked at me, the way he relaxed in my arms and trusted me. He knew he was going home with me, and I knew too.

So we brought our new kitty home with us, and named him Sheldon Coo Pert. And though he is not some exotic, pure-bred kitty with pedigree papers, he is really an awesome little guy. He is very laid back and peaceful, but he is also goofy and playful. He settled into our house right away, there was really no adjustment period. He just made himself right at home, and has been a sweet little goofball ever since.

It hurts my heart to picture what his life would have been had we not adopted him. One more month without being adopted and he would have been put to sleep, so had we chosen to go to a breeder, our little Shelly Belly Banana Beans wouldn’t have been on this earth anymore. So please just take all of this to heart, and if/when you end up deciding to get a pet, remember that adoptions saves lives, but breeding ends them.

And on another note: always spay and neuter your pets! There are millions upon millions of homeless animals, be a responsible global citizen and do not contribute to that epidemic.

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