Is it good or bad to adopt a rescue cat from a well-established, large, national pet store chain that has warehouse-sized facilities in retail parks across the UK? Pets at Home have gone into partnership with major animal charities such as the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs And Cats Home and Cats Protection. People have different views about this concept. For years, people have wanted to see an end to the selling of kittens from pet shops so this seems like a backward step. But is it?
Well, the first thing that I note about this story is that the online newspaper, the Daily Mail, states that rescued cats are being “sold” from a giant pet store chain, Pets at Home.
People who adopt a rescue cat pay an adoption fee. As far as I am concerned that is not a purchase price. The adoption fee is an amount of money paid so that the rescue centre can meet their overheads. They are non-profit organisations and therefore I think it is incorrect to say that rescue cats are being sold at this pet store.
Also, these are rescued cats. They are not cats turned out by the thousands by kitten factories or puppy mills, call them what you like, for profit. There is a big difference in (a) breeding cats for sale in large numbers at pet shops and (b) maximising the chances of an unwanted cat being rehomed by presenting them to the maximum number of potential adopters.
On that assessment, adopting a rescue cat that comes from Cats Protection through Pets at Home is a good thing. Let’s remember too that Cats Protection and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have excellent track records of rehoming cats. I trust their judgement (although they have made the odd mistake in the past, in my opinion).
The downside is that adopting cats and dogs through a commercial organisation as big as Pets at Home might encourage selling cats and dogs at pet shops. In a way it endorses the processes.
Some senior people disagree with it, such as the past president of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association. And some Cats Protection people also dislike the idea.
It is a balancing act between the positives, which is rehoming more unwanted cats and dogs and the negative which is giving the impression that cats and dogs are products for sale.
If the in-store marketing is clear and it is made clear to customers that this is a rehoming service in partnership with these well known and large animal charities then, my position is that, I agree with it. I am not saying I am correct. These are just my immediate thoughts on reading the story that Ruth (aka) kindly pointed out to me today.
Two lasts points – (a) as I recall, the big animal charities are having difficulties in rehoming all the unwanted cats and dogs. This is a solution to that difficulty and (b) Pets at Home are already involved in raising funds for animal charities they state.
In the USA I believe it is fairly commonplace to see rescue cats up for adoption in shopping malls and stores etc. but I’d like confirmation of that from our American friends if possible.
Photo: by Philandthehound