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I have been an animal lover since the first time I watched Walt Disney’s “The Lion King” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” but my love for cats started the day I realized what the four-legged creature was.

Don’t breed, adopt

I have been an animal lover since the first time I watched Walt Disney’s “The Lion King” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” but my love for cats started the day I realized what the four-legged creature was.

I have witnessed the circle of life firsthand. I have seen many of my cats give birth over the years (placenta and all) and I have had to say goodbye to those kittens who didn’t make it through the birth canal. I have had a few of my beloved cats die in my arms on the way to the 24-hour emergency veterinarian hospital and I have bottle fed day-old abandoned kittens until they were strong enough to eat on their own.

If you know me, you know I’m a cat fanatic. Last December, I fostered two kittens from the Cat House on the Kings, a no-kill animal sanctuary and adoption center along the Kings River in Parlier. I found out about this opportunity because I sponsor a 4-year-old tabby cat named Heidi through the Cat House. I’m just one person, but I’ve made a difference in several lives.

One common problem I hear about among pet owners is breeding. People have been breeding their purebred dogs and pedigreed cats for years, and the recession has caused a great deal more of people to start breeding them. Offspring of these purebred animals can be sold for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars.

Our world is already overflowing with homeless dogs. Why are breeders adding to this problem by creating more puppies and kittens?

Instead of breeding to gain money, why not adopt a homeless animal? People don’t breed to get a liter of adorable puppies and kittens to just stare at; they breed for profit or for competitions and shows. Some people breed to get highly desired cat breeds like the Himalayan or Russian Blue and dogs breeds like the Pomeranian and American Pit Bull Terrier.

There are thousands of homeless dogs and cats in the Central Valley who are desperate for adoption. People who adopt have the chance to change an innocent animal’s life for the better.
According to Stephen Good, shelter officer manager at the Central California SPCA, 3,780 cats and dogs were brought to the shelter last month. Out of the 2,080 dogs and 1,700 cats, only 422 dogs and 152 cats were adopted.

Common sense overshadows the facts here; it doesn’t take a genius to understand the math in this situation. If you add more dogs and cats to an already overpopulated world, then you’re creating more unwanted animals in the long run.

The rewards of adopting a pet, instead of buying from a breeder, are numerous. Any homeless pet would love a second chance at life and a chance to be your best friend. Make this holiday season the year you change an animal’s life by giving them the gift of a loving home.