Cat (Small Animal) Mills: The Awful Truth

Any animal can be milled!

That is a truth that not everyone realizes. Sugar Gliders, Rats, Chinchillas, rabbits,  foxes, Ferrets and kittens. Any animal that you see in a pet store has (more than likely) been milled. 

Thankfully, there has been some (not enough) media attention surrounding puppy  mills. Most everyone has at least heard the term or seen a picture and realizes that it isn’t a good thing. But sadly, any animal that is sold in pet stores is usually milled. Just think about it- pet stores are always able to have more than enough of the animals listed  to sell to anyone that walks in their door. And why is that?  Since there is a demand, there will be an industry.

There will always be  “farmers” that make sure there are more than enough rats, hamsters and chinchillas to keep the cages in the pet stores full. But because no rodentmillone is speaking out against these types of mills, breeders are able to switch which species they are breeding rather easily. Many former puppy mill breeders have switched, and now breed a multitude of cats to public (and private) organizations. Much like the puppy mill industry, the breeder has absolutely no concern for the health of the animals, the conditions they live in, or the fate of the animals leaving the property.

Kitty mills are just another example of humanity’s “supreme reign” over the animal kingdom. We have the power to torture for profit, so we do. Most people don’t even think that kitty mills are that prevalent in this day and age because of the high number of cats in shelters. However, it is a huge problem.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, most cats are adopted “casually”. About 48% of human owned cats are taken in as strays, or found by someone who gives the kitten or cat to a friend, or is adopted directly from a rescue league. A much smaller percentage, 14%, adopts their cats from shelters, especially kill shelters. The remaining percentage goes directly to either breeders or pet stores. However, with all this kitty purchasing going on, 71% of all cats or kittens that find themselves in the unfortunate position of being in a shelter are euthanized before forever homes can be found. Only one out of every five kittens and cats are destined to live in one home for their lifetime. Most cats find themselves abandoned or left on the shelter doorstep when they are either too much responsibility or lose their cute little kitten appeal.

But it’s not just dogs and cats…. Again, every animal can (and is) milled. There are thousands of small animal mills in the United States, with millions of rats, mice, chinchillas and rabbits who are suffering for their short lives. These pets are not only sold to pet stores, but they are sold to testing facilities and bred at colleges for “scientific purposes”. Where do we draw the line? 

According to the HSUS:
There are Shocking Conditions in Small Animal Mills

Commercial pet dealers who breed or sell most warm-blooded animals to pet stores are required to be licensed and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But The HSUS’ review of USDA inspection reports reveals that many of these breeders are guilty of repeated violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act for crowded and dirty conditions.

Inspection reports from 2004-2006 reveal Animal Welfare Act violations that include:

  • a cattery full of expired medications, which could leave the kittens exposed to deadly diseases
  • a small-animal dealer with over 2,000 hamsters and other small pets inside cages that had reportedly not been cleaned in weeks; sick hamsters being treated without a veterinary consult; holes in the facility walls, and accumulation of dust, cobwebs, and rodent droppings throughout the facility
  • a small-animal breeder with “dead hamsters found in different enclosures housing other hamsters,” as well as “green algae” growing in some of the animals’ water bottles
  • 11 guinea pigs housed inside a small tub only large enough for four
  • a ferret and chinchillas without enough room in their cages to stand up
  • rabbits in overcrowded enclosures less than 9 inches tall

But what can we do? As a group that is actively fighting puppy mills, we have a hard enough time getting people to care about dogs living their entire lives in cages… Letalone  getting people to care about rats. But education is so important. Getting the word out about ALL types of animal mills and raising awareness about the conditions in which these beating hearts are forced to live. 

So, we already know that pet overpopulation is a big problem in this country, and many other countries. But are there  really small animals in shelters waiting to be adopted? YES! There are! Please check or . Any animal that can be purchased, is usually dumped on local shelters, rescues or craigslist. So please, the next time you are looking to add ANY pet to your family, consider adoption first! 


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“Don’t Shop, Adopt!”

Balls are for fetching

…. Spay and Neuter your Pets!

I saw this on a t-shirt this weekend at the Great Iowa Pet Expo and I just had to share it with you all.  

It was at the booth for the Animal Protection and Education Charity ( . Then it hit me… I haven’t done a post about affordable spay/neuter programs in the Iowa area.

Not sure about Spaying or Neutering your pet in the first place? Do you feel like you are taking away your dog’s manliness? Read my 7 reasons why I think that you should alter your pet!

1.  Neutering males eliminates their overwhelming desire to mate when they catch the scent of a female in heat. When they catch that scent, they have a mission and one mission only–to find that female and mate with her. That causes them to dig under fences, tear down screen doors, run out in front of cars, and show aggression to anyone or anything that gets in their way.

2. Spaying females eliminates spotting, yowling, and other physical behaviors associated with being in heat.

3. Similarly, neutering males (when done early enough) eliminates their need so spray or mark their territory in your house and on your furniture.

4. Spaying or neutering eliminates the possibility of your dog or cat getting ovarian/testicular cancer, or any other illness associated with the reproductive organs.

5. For both males and females, taking away the overpowering interest in mating makes them better pets for you–they care more about you than finding a mate.

6. The biggest reason of all is that they are not producing puppies and kittens. You don’t have to find homes for those puppies and kittens, take them to the vet, or take care of them until they are big enough to give away.

7. You aren’t contributing to the pet overpopulation problem in this country. 3-4 million cats and dogs are euthanized EACH YEAR in animal shelters. Sure, your pet is cute, but so are all of those animals that were just put down.

Dogs and cats do not need the “experience” of having a litter. It is not joyful or fulfilling for them. It’s simply biological. You can get them spayed or neutered as early as 8 weeks. In fact, the younger they are, the more quickly they recover from the surgery.

Also, dogs and cats are in no way romantic. They do not experience “romantic love.”   We are not taking anything away when we have them altered. The love they feel is the love they have for their owner. Mating for them is simply biological, it is not romantic.

So my “highlighted” Spay/Neuter charity will be APE, since they were the inspiration for my post in the first place.  Not only do they focus on Spay/Neuter, they also do the “Neuter-a-Tom” event that offers very low-cost neuters for tom cats! APE will be in the following towns (in Iowa). Please contact them for more information ( ! They are always happy to help, especially with farm cats!


So what’s keeping you from getting your dog or cat “fixed?”

Here is a link to help you find affordable spay/neuter in your area.

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Feel free to leave a comment and write of other low-cost spay/neuter clinics in your area! The more we write, the more we can help the pet overpopulation problem!