I am so sorry to see An Poste’s new stamps that promote breeding cats – not a moggie among them. Every time you put one of these stamps on an envelope you’ll be encouraging breeding yourself.
Here’s my thoughts – and a few alternatives.
What’re the Problems?
A spokesperson from An Post said:
With four glamorous cats on An Post’s new 68c stamps, this set will appeal to both cat lovers and breeders alike – they are simply the cat’s pyjamas!
An estimated 180,000 kittens die, with no glamour, every year in Ireland because of the overpopulation problem. With too many cats and not enough homes, breeding directly contributes to the problem. I doubt anyone who is involved in animal welfare in Ireland will find the stamp set appealing.
Sadly the set will appeal to the section of the public who know little or nothing about cat welfare in Ireland. And shelters will see the result in six months to a year – increased surrenders of pedigree cats, when the appeal has worn off and reality has sunk in.
What’s the Reality
The glamour of this pedigree set hides the reality of most Irish cats’ lives. And pedigree cats end up in rescue, just the same as moggies, through breeders’ lack of homechecking (see why homechecks are necessary here) and people’s lack of commitment. This stamp set will add to the problem as people are encouraged to buy what they see on the envelope, without thinking of the needs of the living creature they’re adopting in reality.
Moggies are often the most robust breed of cats due to the wide genetic pool, though they’re not without health issues. Pedigrees come with a variety of predispositions to ill health particular to their breed:
- Maine Coon: feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), hip dysplasia, polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
- Burmese: cranial deformities, glaucoma or feline hyperaesthesia syndromem, calcium oxylate stones in the urinary tract, obesity
- Persian: hairballs, polycystic kidney disease (PKD), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), bladder stones, cystitis (bladder infections), and liver shunts, sensitive to heat, breathing problems, malocclusion
- British Shorthair: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and Hip Dysplasia (HD), hemophilia B
Any breeder who claims that their breed has no health or genetic problems is either lying or is not knowledgeable about the breed.
How about these rescue stamps – the real situation for moggies:
Perhaps a bit too real for An Poste and the general public? Maybe rehomed rescue cats would be a realistic set that An Poste could use:
Trap Neuter Return
Trap Neuter Return (TNR) is recognised as an efficient and cost-effective tool for controlling and reducing feral cat populations. The concept is simple – trap the cats, spay or neuter and eartip them, then return those cats to the colony/area where they were found. As the cats can no longer reproduce, the colony diminishes in size over time. Additionally, by reducing or eliminating mating, the behaviour of unsterilised animals that includes fighting and wandering (looking for mates) is eliminated.
TNR not only controls the unchecked growth of unsterilised animals, it improves the health, behaviour and quality of life of the affected animals.
Trap Neuter Return is a long-term solution to the overpopulation problem. Breeding exacerbates the problem.
Find out more about TNR here.
How about, best of all, some TNR stamps?
For all you need to know about TNR see Feral Cat Ireland’s TNR Manual – How to Help Feral Cats.
What You Can Do
1. Adopt, Neuter, Donate is the motto until the overpopulation problem is under contol – and TNR can bring it under control, but only if breeding is discouraged. And remember – your friend/neighbour/relative who didn’t neuter their cat and who’s offering you kittens is a breeder, same as any other.
Until there are none – that is, no cat deaths from the malnourishment, neglect and illness that is the inevitable result of feline overpopulation – adopt from a rescue, neuter your companion animals and strays – and don’t buy from a breeder!
2. How about designing some Animal Welfare stamps yourself? You could send them to An Poste as a suggestion to make up for the damage they’ve done with the current set. Send them to us too! We’d love to see what you come up with.
Here’s a blank for you:
3. Write to An Poste (Pressoffice@anpost.ie) – protest the irresponsiblity of their latest stamp set and suggest they include more responsible images of animals in their next booklet.
4. Boycott this pedigree set, cute though they may be.