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The Invisible Cat, Seminar Friday, September 13

invisible cat graphic
The Invisible Cat, graphic provided by Faith Bjalobok.

The Philosophy of Animals class of Duquesne University is hosting a seminar, “The Invisible Cat”, to offer information on the availability of help for cats in Allegheny and Washington Counties in the Pittsburgh area. The seminar is on Friday, September 14 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. in Room 104 of College Hall on the Duquesne University campus, and is free and open to the public.

What is an invisible cat?

Shelters all over the country, and the world, struggle with the issue of pet overpopulation each day, especially with the millions of unintended kittens born each year. Unfortunately, many cats lose their lives in the struggle both in and outside of shelters and also suffer abandonment, abuse, starvation and injury while trying to live on the streets. On a regular basis we read about communities from small towns to cities which propose the outright killing of all outdoor cats ostensibly for some public health issue.

How can a compassionate human kill, maim, neglect or starve another living creature? One way is to depersonalize it, take away its identity and turn it into a nameless, faceless object, and thereby make it invisible to the rights and privileges of society.

Abandoned and homeless cats are largely invisible in this way. Though they are the same species as the ones who sleep on our heads they are not seen as such, treated as such or legislated as such by most individuals and communities. They are often considered lesser creatures and deserving of less than our feline companions receive. And all too often, they are literally exterminated as vermin, and tossed away as trash.

“We focus on spay/neuter because it is the single most effective and humane way to address the problem of overpopulation,” said Faith Bjalobok, the professor who teaches the course hosting the seminar.

There is one simple solution to the overpopulation of cats which leads to the overflow of homeless and abandoned cats: spay and neuter surgery. Yet many people neglect to spay and neuter their pets for a variety of reasons, and one main reason is expense. Many shelters and rescues practice pediatric spay and neuter so no pet is adopted out without the surgery and the fee is included in the adoption fee. More and more clinics specializing in low-cost spay and neuter are opening, more shelters offer low cost spay and neuter programs, and organizations focused solely on spay and neuter for both pets and cats living on the streets are organizing all over the country. Even basic health care is offered at a lower cost for people who rescue cats.

But people who need the service don’t get the word. This seminar will discuss the alternatives available to cats in the Pittsburgh area in Allegheny and Washington Counties, and hopefully we can all leave with the latest information and find ways to get the word out to everyone, just everyone, so that it’s available when people find themselves in need.

Who is speaking

the invisible cat seminar pittsburgh
Click here to download the full-size version as a JPG file.

Speakers at this event include representatives from several Pittsburgh-area cat rescue and low-cost spay neuter organizations and shelters:

  • Carol Whaley, Animal Friends
  • Michelle Bruce, Fix Ur Cat
  • Becky Morrow, Frankies Friends & Homeless Cat Management Team
  • Risé Chontos, In Care of Cats
  • Faith Bjalobok, Fluffyjean Fund for Felines

Click here or on the image at right to download the flyer and distribute.

About Faith Bjalobok

The course “Philosophy of Animals” is taught by Faith Bjalobok at Duquesne University. Ms. Bjalobok has a Ph.D. and MA in Criminology, an MA Philosophy, is Adjunct Professor at the Department of Philosophy at Duquesne University and also Adjunct Professor at the Department of Philosophy at Chatham College, Pittsburgh, and is a Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.

According to the service learning component of the course, “The goal of the Philosophy of Animals course is to give students the opportunity to critically examine the moral status of non-human animals and the way in which our treatment of them affects our own humanity.” And in the class description, “The primary purpose of this course is to critically examine our current relationships with non-human animals to determine if the way in which we treat non-human animals is in fact just.”

An important element of the class is for students to actually get out there and interact with animals and people at shelters and rescues for the service learning component. “We work with a lot of community partners: Horses for Hope, Hog Heaven, Petsearch, In Care of Cats,” said Ms. Bjalabok of the studies and hands-on research and activities the class is involved in.

Pennsylvania’s 6th Annual Week for Animals Saturday, September 14, 2013 through Sunday, September 22, 2013

As an update, this event will be the kick-off event for the Sixth Annual Pennsylvania Week for  Animals, click here for more information.

You may not know it, but Pennsylvania’s biggest industry isn’t manufacturing, but agriculture, actual farming and industries related to farming. Much of the Keystone State is farmland or simply rural and unpopulated—by people at least. It’s covered with animals of all sorts, from pets to farm animals to a rich mix of wildlife in our woods, mountains, plains and wetlands. Click here to go to the calendar for dozens of events all over the state all month long including spay/neuter, TNR, adoptions, rabies clinics, informational seminars and meet and greets with animals of all species.

The week of events and recognition is sponsored by Animal World USA’s Weeks for the Animals campaign which focuses on “saving lives, building relationships and making history for the always amazing animals.”

. . . . . . . .

I will be attending this event and hope to write a summary afterward, as well as more about Faith Bjalobok and her class.

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From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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