by Elisa Black-Taylor
R.I.P angels photo by Andrea Sams
I had planned to do some research into cat adoptions being down this year, but decided to use an editorial approach instead. Mainly because we all know cat adoptions are down. It's staring us in the face as we look on our Facebook walls and as we view websites of our local shelters.
Unfortunately this isn't anything new. I ran across articles from 2009 stating adoptions were down then also. I believe this is a permanent tragic condition that needs more attention in the media. I've always fought hard for shelter pets since I rescue from a shelter.
Not only are cat adoptions down, so are dog and horse adoptions. The number of animals no one wants is growing and there's no end in sight.
One source I checked was an article from 2009 where the ASPCA in Boston said the number of owner turn-ins were up 45% due to economic conditions and people losing their homes. This I can halfway understand. It's the people who march into their local shelter and decide to throw away a family member for no reason at all who really make me boil.
I've watched the line form late in the evening at the shelter where I rescue. It often lines up out the front door. And the excuses are always the same. Moving, can't keep, allergic, it's a stray. Let's not forget the big one readers. SHE HAD KITTENS. These people are signing over their pets without any visible evidence of having a conscience. They're not stupid. They have a pretty good idea their cat won't come out of the shelter alive and they don't care.
Money is often an issue when surrendering a pet. Just as often, it's not an issue. The family has simply tired of the cat.
Cat owner's need to be educated about spay/neuter and more clinics need to form to help those who cannot afford the surgery. It wouldn't hurt for private practice vets to offer a discount on the surgery. The average price at a private practice is sometimes double what a clinic charges. It's not only a money maker for the veterinarian doing the surgery, it's also a money maker for the clients who DON'T have it performed. Kittens are more likely to become ill than older cats, and adult cats are more likely to develop health problems if they remain unaltered. The vet visits for simple health problems can add up to a lot of money.
I've heard several complaints that shelters charge too much in adoption fees. Just go out and price the services they provide before adoption and you'll find a shelter pet is a bargain. The average price in my area is around $70, which is less than the spay/neuter alone at a private practice. Usually this fee also includes vaccines, micro-chipping, tests for FIV/FeLV, flea treatment and de-worming.
We can't blame the shelters for a problem created by man. There's intake vs adoption and no happy medium can be found. Some animals who are chosen for the adoption floor eventually return to death row due to lack of an adopter. Feral's are trapped and turned in as feral's and this is often a death sentence in itself in some areas as any cat deemed dangerous can't be adopted out to the public.
Want a de-clawed cat? The shelters are full of them. Want a purebred? They're also full of those. You just won't have the pedigree on paper.
I'm including some of the photos made by the shelter photographer at Greenville County Animal Care Services in Greenville, SC. I've rescued forty cats from them. Her name is Andrea Sams and she is also the cat rescue coordinator. All of the cats in her photos were euthanized because no one wanted them. Their shelter (as are so many) ran out of room and the cats ran out of time.
Cat owners, spay and neuter your cats and don't declaw. Take a look at the photos of the Rainbow Bridge kitties and remember beauty means nothing in a shelter. Beautiful animals are killed by the thousands on a daily basis.
Here's the link to an article I wrote many months ago. It tells of some of the people trying to save cats and dogs on death row and what they do. It's still a good read today. http://pictures-of-cats.org/animal-shelters-crossposters-and-rescue-groups.html.
Readers, rescuers, fosters, shelter personnel, please comment. I know how hard you all work at cross-posting the available cats and more often than not no one steps up in time. How are cat adoptions going in your area? What's the number one excuse for surrendering an animal. Can you think of solutions other than the ones I've mentioned? This is the place to make yourself heard.
When the time is right for you to adopt, visit a shelter and save a life.