250 Things You Can Do To Make Your Cat Adore You

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1998:

250 Things You Can Do To
Make Your Cat Adore You
by Ingrid Newkirk
Simon & Schuster (1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020), 1998.
201 pages, paperback, $11.00.

In 1992 and 1995, ANIMAL PEOP
L E surveys of cat rescuers netted several
signed responses from PETA staffers who,
almost alone among the respondents, identified
mass roundups for killing by needle as
their preferred “rescue” method. One of them
killed an average of about one cat per day.
In January 1998, ANIMAL PEOP
L E received a detailed account from John
Newton of the Meower Power Feral Cat coalition,
alleging that a hit squad led personally
at first by PETA cofounder Ingrid Newkirk
had for three years frequently trapped cats
from supervised neuter/release colonies in the
vicinity of Fort Norfolk, Virginia, and delivered
many to their deaths at local animal shelters.

The PETA raids continued, Newton
said, even after the intervention of Alley Cat
Allies brought a brief hiatus in early 1997.
Such activities don’t seem to be
mentioned in Newkirk’s recital of 250 Things
You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You.
But Newkirk does describe how cats, in her
view, should be converted into vegetarians,
contrary to the outcome of around 40 million
years of evolution. If that doesn’t make your
cat adore you, you can––if the cat eats the
wrong plants––try again by feeding the suffering
animal a bit of vegetable oil, and then
administering a warm-water enema.
To Newkirk’s credit, she acknowledges
that, “This does not sound like a fun
way to spend even five minutes.”
Much of Newkirk’s advice is Cat
Care 1-A. Much is overt plugola for favorite
products, and of course for PETA. Among
cat-related charities, Newkirk recommends
only PETA, Alley Animals (not Alley Cat
Allies), Best Friends, the Greek Animal
Welfare Society, and the Roman Association
for the Protection of Animals. After warning
sternly against patronizing cat breeders,
Newkirk recommends Cat Fancy, Cats, and I
Love Cats magazines, all heavy on breeder
ads and pro-breeding articles.
250 Things is, in short, a rather
odd cat care manual.
I assess animal care manuals by asking
myself, after a reading, “Would I want
this author to be my pet-sitter?”
Taking into consideration my intuition
since childhood that cats are not ours to
be changing their natural diets or bumping off
if healthy, just because we think they might
eventually suffer the normal stresses of life, I
think I’d rather go naked while giving a distressed
feline vegetable oil and an enema than
let Ingrid Newkirk anywhere near any of my
cats––even Gidget, nicknamed “Devil of the
Boss Cats,” whose temperament, I understand,
is much like Newkirk’s.

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