Rhodes University's policy in residences is that students may not keep pets. Students and staff living in town may decide to keep pets, but this means extra responsibilities. Every year, scores of animals are left hungry and homeless when thoughtless individuals go away on holiday or leave town, or decide that their pet is no longer young and cute. It is essential to consider the pros and cons of pet ownership before taking the big step. Here are some important points to bear in mind.
Get involved in the ACTION:
- Adopt a pet: Consider finding a special four-legged friend at your local SPCA or through the GFC project - there are plenty of animals that would be grateful for a loving home. Remember, "Rescuing one animal may not change the world, but for that animal, their world is changed forever" (unknown). * don't breed or buy while animals in shelters die *
- Feeding: A balanced diet is important for a happy animal. At the same time, from a carbon footprint point of view, it would help to limit the number carnivorous pets we keep.
- Family planning: There is nothing sadder than the sight of a hungry and frightened animal that has landed up in an uncaring home or has been abandoned. It is also heart-breaking to lose a beautiful male pet to informal breeding activities or to an unscrupulous person who steals him for dog-fighting. It is strongly recommended that you neuter your pet (as advocated by the GFC project).
- Health care: Take your pet to your local vet for annual innoculations and also for a check-up if it seems unwell - the first symptoms are usually losing interest in food, listlessness or fever (39oC or more).
- Reduce impact on local wildlife: Cats are known for their hunting instincts (across large areas) and appetite for fresh meat. Here are some simple steps to prevent them from killing every bird and gecko in the neighbourhood:
- Curfew: Install a lockable cat flap, cuddle your cats all night long, don't let them out until they have eaten breakfast.
Cat flap locked until after breakfast
Jingle bells (2 on a stretch collar) warn wildlife of impending danger.
Two jingle bells warn better than one.
- Balanced diet: If a cat is fed good quality food, it is less likely to crave extra protein.
- Entertainment: Give your cat plenty of attention, play, and plant a patch of catnip - it's cat ecstacy.
Take another step
- Get animal-wise.
- Support Grahamstown Feral Cat Project, a humane solution for abandoned and feral cats in Grahamstown: GFCP.
- Learn from the SPCA.
- Get involved in Rhodes Organisation for Animal Rights, an active Rhodes University student group: ROAR.
- Find out about Pet Empowerment in TownShips: PETS.
- Barking Mad has a button where you can "Click to Feed - It's Free". This generates food to feed rescued animals in South Africa.
Go to the Rhodes University ENVIRONMENT front page. Suggestions/Questions? Contact environment(at)ru.ac.za