Wow, I’m posting like crazy tonight – but this article cracks me up, so it’s worth it.
In its infinite wisdom, the San Francisco SPCA has decided that I may not adopt a kitten. Not because I’m inexperienced—I’ve had hairballs adorning my bed for nearly 20 years, and I’m not referring to any ex-lovers. Not because I have a dog—my dog loves cats, though she’s yet to find one to return the favor.
I’m not allowed to adopt a cat because my house has mice.
With this innovative policy, the SPCA in one bold stroke corrects 50 centuries of belief that cats and mice can co-exist, or that if not, the problem won’t be on the cat side of the equation. Those Egyptian bas-reliefs? Pure disinformation put out by the priests of a religion that, after all, worshipped cats.
This is not one of those “aren’t-those-loony-Left-Coasters-way-out-in-left-field” stories. I love San Francisco in all its quirkiness, its attempts to do right, and until this month, I’d have said I loved the SPCA, too. After a lengthy process including a two-page application, an initial interview, discussions with the behaviorists and several visits in search of the right cat, I fell in love with Lena, a black-and-white kitten with a white splotch on her black nose.
After 20 further minutes of interrogation at the adoption desk, I was informed that I could not have Lena because I had mice. Even after swearing on my dog’s head that I would not use mouse poison. Why?
Well, a cat might eat a mouse and get sick and die.
Why would it do that if I hadn’t used any poison?
Well, because you said your neighbor used poison and one of those mice might come over to your house to die.
He put the pellets out eight months ago. They’re all gone and so are the mice.
Well, mice carry disease, and the cat might bite a mouse and get sick and die, and you wouldn’t want that, would you? (A random survey of a dozen San Francisco vets found none—including the one at the SPCA hospital—who had ever treated a cat for simple mouse ingestion.)
So why not put the qualifier at the beginning of the process instead of wasting my time and letting me fall in love with Lena?
Well, our initial interviewer OKd you, but that was only to make sure you didn’t mind if a cat wasn’t a mouser, because none of our cats are mousers.
Lena doesn’t have to earn her keep, I’ll love her no matter what.
Well, I’ve checked with my supervisor, and you’ll just have to wait until your mouse problem is cleared up.
But then someone else will adopt Lena.
Well, there’ll be plenty of kittens in six weeks.
The SPCA interviewer is resolute, triumphant, incandescent with conviction and self-righteousness. She has uncovered my cunning plan to spend a hundred dollars on a kitten I will feed to the mice and she has foiled the villain! Rectitude is sweet on the tongue!
This is beyond the good intentions of political correctness gone awry. At worst, this is a version of Gatekeeper Mentality run amok, where the only power is to say no, so saying no becomes the only way to exercise power.
At best, this is overextended paternalism. And as with all paternalism, it’s “Do as I say, not as I do.”
How does the SPCA know that none of its cats are mousers?
Because every day, workers find mice droppings inside the cats’ cages, but never any little mouse corpses—the San Francisco SPCA building itself is rife with mice.
Given this proof that cats can survive in the presence of mice, the SPCA should drop its disqualification-by-mouse rule like, well, like a dead mouse.