Some years ago, perhaps unwisely, I bought a distressed wooden sign that in the French language offered cats a warm welcome.
No sooner had I hung it up by the front door than matted and forlorn moggies began mysteriously appearing in our garden, unsettling our own spoiled and much loved felines, as they seemingly sought safe refuge on our land. I wasn’t sure at the time whether to be more impressed by their reading ability or the fact that they could understand French.
Inevitably like a would-be Francis of Assisi, I fed and nurtured those that arrived, carefully keeping their feeding zone away from our jealous domestic cats and giving them heaps of affection and attention. In time we did reach a limit and mercifully – and by lucky coincidence – fewer cats began to arrive perhaps sensing that they could only push their luck so far.
So as an indulgent animal lover and the owner of many creatures both great and small in rural Majorca, I was rather touched to read about the unanimous decision taken by Pedro J Perez, the mayor, and fellow town councillors of Trigueros del Valle in the municipality of Valladolid in Spain in declaring cats and dogs as ‘non-human neighbours’. The intention in offering them equal rights was supposedly to help dignify animals in general and to prevent abuse.
The council believes that the initiative will encourage locals to report any animal abuse in the area and at the same time hopes to solicit their support in funding the sterilising of abandoned cats in the town. In Soller, my local valley, the problem of how to deal with feral cats is a big issue. It is expensive for residents to sterilise them on a whim so at least one of the town’s vets offers a generous discount should any local or expat charge him with the task.
It wasn’t long ago that one of the nearby villages poisoned the alley cats annually – an abhorrent act that many condemned, particularly expats. Thankfully it appears that this is no longer happening presumably because of pressure from villagers unable to cope with the horrific fallout every year.
Of course there are those that think the whole idea of giving animals rights is laughable and that Trigueros del Valle is setting itself up for a fall. They believe that locals will mischievously suggest including pigs, sheep, cows and hens in the new act and demand to know whether all the animals of the area can expect the vote or at least social benefits.
All I know is that we human-beings have to co-exist on this toxic little planet and the more we can do to live harmoniously and respect one another can only be a good thing. Showing compassion and love for one’s fellow creature is key. Every cat should have nine lives and every dog have its day. Surely paws for thought?
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