Probably about three decades ago on the corner of Mother's street was a small petrol station. It closed, as did the many small service stations once spread around Melbourne and country towns. It became a pinball parlour for a while and my two brothers in their teen years no doubt pumped their pocket money into the machines. It then became a pizza place and the owner used to put leftover pizza out for stray cats. Eventually flats were built on the site and Step Father felt sorry for the deserted cats and started to feed them. Their home changed to Mother's back yard. There were complaints by neighbours to the local council and a cat trapper arrived. The man actually caught a few, but Step Father felt so sorry for one who was pitifully wailing in a cage and he let it out. Some cats were removed, but not all. Cat catcher said, they are too wild to catch and soundly criticised Step Father as being uncooperative with the process because he set a cat free.
The cats never received medical treatment or veterinary attention but were well fed and if any ailed badly, Step Father might give them some eye ointment that was probably meant for his budgerigars or put them out of their misery.
Step Father died and Mother took over the responsibility for the cats, about six then. They received formula cat milk and the best of food but no still no veterinary care. They bred, perhaps inbred, and some have been killed on the road. Some have died from infections. One skeleton was found hanging from a hook in the garage. We assured Mother that happened post death, but we don't know. Mother likes watching them play in her backyard. While they run under the house if any person or other creature visits, they are comfortable with the presence of Mother. Some want to come inside and be pets, but Mother won't allow that.
Tradie Brother and a friend of Mother's have quickly and cleanly dealt with some of the kittens over the years, as did Step Father when he was still alive.
Finally, she is down to two non breeding mature cats. I am not quite sure why she was sure they were non breeding, but we took at her word.
Little Jo: Nanny, there are two kittens in your backyard.
Mother: No Skippy, I don't have kittens. (Joey=Skippy. Get it?)
Little Jo: Nanny, you do.
Mother: No Skippy, I don't have kittens.
Who do you believe? A mentally sharp as a tack 83 year old woman or her very smart 9 year old grandchild?
Yep, Little Jo was right. Mother does have now one new kitten. She did subsequently see two as Little Jo described, but now only sees one.
This must sound all very familiar to Strayer. Feed them but no responsibility.
I am going to offend someone deeply now, and I don't relish doing so, but before you take on a pet dog or cat or any creature, you must ensure that you have enough money to look after the pet's basic needs. That includes vaccinations, worming, teeth care and grooming if required. I don't expect people to stump up thousands for back operations for their pets, but pets do cost for their basic care and before you take on a pet, you must realise that it will cost money at times. Having seen out two dogs and three cats to old age and death, along with a couple of premature deaths of budgerigars, a cockatoo and a canary, never mind innumerable gold fish, believe me, I know it costs.