My daughter is about to turn sixteen. She has never had a cat, because I am severely allergic to cats. But she's always wanted to have one. I recently told her that we had a kitten living on our property, and she fell in love with at once and wants to keep it.
This is going to be her cat, though it will be a barn cat and not a house cat. The kitten is very tame, and though I have refrained from touching it all this time, my daughter picked it up and petted it, and the kitten was delighted by the attention.
Letting her keep the kitten is part of my daughter's birthday gift this year. But we have determined that the kitten is a female, and because I cannot allow too many cats to overrun my property, I have made a very painful decision: when the time is right, I will have the kitten spayed.
This is not for humane reasons. This is purely out of my own self interest. I have no wish to become a cat breeder. Cats are not indigenous to this area; they are exotic. They represent a threat to the local wildlife. So because I don't care about the feline species, I am going to see to it that this particular cat on my property does not reproduce.
What are the alternatives? I could give it to someone else who does want to breed cats. But really, most people who adopt a cat immediately turn around and have it spayed. They pretend they are doing it for the sake of the cat. That is utter nonsense. There just happens to be a conflict of interest between cats and humans, and we try to keep their population down, because it would be bad for us to be overrun by cats.
I feel sad for the cat, because infertility is no picnic. Having reproductive capacity removed also alters personality. We're talking about invasive surgery, and not everyone survives it.
But just as I eventually had to exterminate the mice that were overrunning my house -- with Bow's blessing, despite his earlier objections -- I have to be a good steward of the land for the sake of my rabbits and turtles and deer and birds. So this will not be a cat sanctuary. Sorry. One cat only.
The difference between me and HSUS is that I acknowledge how cruel and disempowering spaying is. It is not an act of kindness toward cats. It is something that we do because we don't care about them that much.
Don't let the animal rights rhetoric blind you to the facts. Any species whose propagation matters to you should be allowed to breed. If a sanctuary prevents chimpanzees from breeding, then its attitude toward chimpanzees is like my attitude toward cats.