A lot has been covered on responsible pet ownershi…

July 10, 2006

A lot has been covered on responsible pet ownership. But what about responsible pet adoption? What is it anyway? Good question. There is nothing like that on Google or anywhere on the world wide web. Maybe there responsible pet adoption is wrong choice of terminology. But hopefully you get the gist of what i’m trying to say down this page.

What prompted me to write about this are the recent failed adoptions & the reasons they fail.

Everyone wants the perfect pet. Who wouldn’t? I’d love my Chaos to be perfect so that I don’t look the crazy cat lady all the time! Then again, if they are perfect, they wouldn’t be Chaos. How boring life at home would be …

Reality is there’s isn’t a perfect pet like we know there is no such thing perfect mate. But why do we expect differently from our pets? Simple, they are more disposable & also cheaper to dispose.

If someone goes to a shelter with the mindset to adopt the ‘perfect’ pet, the minute the pet falls short of expectations, the poor creature gets returned or worse, booted out of the house almost immediately.

Some excuses/reasons given for returnig the pet are pathetic. I don’t know about dogs but cats .. tsk tsk tsk. Here’s a few.

“The new cat scratched me/hissed at me, my boyfriend, my kid, my resident cat.”
Put yourself in the cat’s position. All of a sudden, taken away from a familiar surrounding to find itself in a new place with new smell, new noises, new people/cats/kids. Intimidating isn’t it? Wouldn’t you be a little scared? So why should it be different for a cat. A cat with an abused history is even worse. A foreign hand coming at it suddenly or a loud noise triggers the fear of abuse, prompting the cat to defend itself. & how does the cat defend itself? Hiss & swipe. Its not rocket science, really.

“The new cat can’t get along with my cat” (after like 2 days).
Cats are a lot more like humans than most of us care to acknowledge. First time encounters don’t necessarily mean love at first sight. The get-to-know stage is usually met with hisses, chasing, swiping & sometimes fighting. That is why, we always suggest separation in the beginning & a slow gradual introduction.

“The new cat just won’t use the toilet” or “I want the cat to use the toilet instead of litter”
In short, i’m too cheap to buy litter, so I’m gonna make the cat learn to use the toilet bowl. Reality check – it is less grief to let the cat use the litter box. And no, locking the cat in the toilet isn’t going to help either.

Having said that, some cats do have problems learning to use the litter box, despite training & a lot of patience from the owner. Take Wa-Wa for instance, she prefers to toilet to the litter box period. Before you applaud her intelligence, by toilet – I mean the toilet floor not the toilet bowl. But that’s just the way it is.

“The cat keeps going to the neighbour’s house”
Duh, if you leave the front door wide open. And again to be fair, some cats have the knack to sniff out even the tiniest hole or opening to squeeze through.

As fosterer/rescuer/sponsor, we all wish a happy-ever-after for our cats with their new families. We wish the families give our cats time to adjust to their new surroundings, to get to know them and to love them. We wish they treat their newly adopted cats with love, respect, kindness & compassion.

At the same time we are realistic that some adoption will fail for different reasons. But by treating the new cat carelessly will not improve the situation. In fact, it just creates more stress & fear in the cat.

I personally don’t have an issue if the cat is returned because the owner decides the cat is not suitable for them. But I do have an issue when a perfectly healthy, well adjusted cat leaves the shelter & comes back four days later as a sick psycho kitty.


8 Responses to “A lot has been covered on responsible pet ownershi…”

  1. Zeus said

    What it comes down to is being able to take the time to research everything one can regarding different types of animals and their lifestyle needs. Unfortunately, few people do this, and they follow their hearts from the beginning.

    This concept that a pet can and will conform to a human’s whim is what lures people into this position. Homo sapiens need to wake up and realize that we animals are only as smart as our supposed owners perceive and allow us to be.

  2. Victor Tabbycat said

    We also get too many people giving pets as gifts, bringing pets home wifout checking wif efurryone who lives there, and hiding pets in rentals that don’t allow pets. Or getting a pet and then moving into a new place that doesn’t allow them an just getting rid of them again. Too many fings are considered disposable! Cats aren’t fings to get an get rid of wifout a second thot!

  3. kattonic said

    My first cat was an “accident”, the poor thing was only about a week old and didn’t even have her eyes open yet when momma was hit by a car. After the cat was hit we took her to the local vet who said “she has nursing kittens somewhere and she’s mangled inside” we decided the humane thing to do was have her put to sleep and spent the rest of the day looking for the babies. Enlisting the help of the kids in the neighborhood we found three tiny babies under a porch. Yes, weeks of bottle feeding, massageing their bowel movements, grooming with a cotton ball and finally two found homes right in their original “birthplace” and the only female in the litter stayed with us. She was a lover and for sixteen years was my “baby”. When she was 7 we found another kitty wandering our back yard. Only 2months old and already on her own we took her in. She’s not a lover and doesn’t like to be held, petted or even touched except on the rare occasion. Our third and fourth cats were also rescues, and each has their own personality. I wouldn’t think of getting rid of any of them, they’re just like children, some are happy go lucky, some are clingy, some are crabby. I love them all.

  4. Ayla said

    In our house, once you come in the door you’re staying. The Mom understands that not every cat can be perfect like me. We have one cat who only has one eye, one that is deaf, and another who lost most sight in one eye due to scarring from an ulcer. They are happy members of the family.

    Then again, I know the Mom goes through a rigorous screening process. She goes to the shelter and plays with all the kitties. She meows to see if any meow back. She seems to “know” when one will fit. So far, according to her, there haven’t been any problems. However, I wish she never brought in any more cats. I think being the only cat would’ve been perfect for me, but the Mom never listens to me. Bah.

  5. CatDonna & Cats said

    It sounds like you’re thinking about Yo-Ga, the poor cat vegancat mentioned.

    God knows what happened but at least it’s over.

    How does one discern a good and responsible adopter? To be honest I have no clue. In my experience sometimes the adopter looks perfect on paper but you just don’t get a good vibe. Or it’s the other way around, you wouldn’t have allowed the adoption but then you see the connection between cat and adopter.

    Anyway… some of us are thinking of meeting up soon, maybe this weekend or the next? Leave a message on my blog and let us know!

  6. M said

    I am more tolerant of my cats than I am of people! I don’t understand pet owners who prefer their furniture to their cats. “He scratched the chair…” Who cares?

    I know one lady who put her beautiful long haired cat outdoors because she was tired of stepping on litter on the floor. (well, sweep more often!!)

  7. Karen said

    My seven year old silver tabby guards me when I’m sick, curls in my face to sleep at night, and mopes when I go on vacation-
    It wasn’t always this way! Patience, understanding, space, and time were key- she was an 18 month old fresh street rescue when I adopted her and at first she would leap at my face claws out when I got too close and wanted nothing to do with contact. We have been best buddies now for years! Hang in there new adopters-it takes time for a cat to trust you; especially considering the average adoptee may have had unpleasant or no human contact in life already.

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