Cat Rescue Adoptions
by Elisa Black-Taylor
Mia adopted out using Abby's Animal Angels Rescue
Cat rescue adoptions handled through a legitimate cat rescue are very different than going to your local shelter. The cost to adopt a cat is usually significantly higher, but the old saying "you get what you pay for" definitely applies here. A rescue doesn't necessarily have to have a 501c3 to operate a good and successful rescue. The main benefit of a 501c3 is that donations made to these rescues are tax deductible. They also lend more credibility to the rescue. Still, there are many excellent private rescues who don't have this.
Advantages: One advantage to cat rescue adoptions is the extra information you can obtain about a cat. Many times the cat has been with the rescue for several weeks, if not months. This gives a rescue time to better access the personality of the cat. You're not as likely to be surprised as you may be with a shelter cat whom no one has had time to observe for behavior problems.
Rescue cats are also usually fed only a certain brand of food. Shelter cats may be fed whatever happens to have been donated that week. Their diets may be changed often and problems with diarrhea or vomiting may not be logged anywhere. These problems are rare with a rescue adoption. Any food allergy problems are usually handled and correctly long before the cat goes to a forever home. You may even be told what foods/treats/toys are your future cats favorite things in life.
Disease: Cat rescue adoptions also take a lot of the guesswork about having to quarantine for infectious diseases such as panleuk. Their cats are quarantined when the cat first enters the rescue. This doesn't mean you shouldn't take the same precautions once you get the cat home. Just that chances are much more likely you're getting a very healthy cat. Most of the rescues I know of have a cage free environment. Either the cats are allowed to roam free in several rooms of the home or a separate building is on property for the cats to have their own dwelling. This is attended several hours a day by someone on staff so the cat gets used to being around loving humans.
Check: Be sure to check out a cat rescue organization very carefully before you adopt. Understand the adoption contract and make sure you get a copy of it. The rescue should be agreeable to take the cat back should the adoption not work out. Find out if ownership is transferable to a family member should you move out of the area and not be able to take your cat to your new home? Be sure you understand what's allowed and what isn't. You should also be prepared to provide vet references as well as a letter from your landlord stating a cat is allowed (without the necessity of declawing) where you live. This is standard and is done for the protection of the cat.
Rabies: You should also get a copy of the rabies certificate and any vet records the cat has up until the time you adopt. Even if the cat has been ill, this information is invaluable because you will know the nature of the illness and what drugs were used to treat it. Check out a rescue in person. The environment should be clean. It may be cluttered, but the food, water bowls, litter boxes, floor and counters should be clean. A good rescue knows the importance of daily disinfection. If you go into a dirty rescue, turn around and leave.
Medicals: A good rescue makes sure no cat is adopted out without being spay/neutered, tested for FIV - Felv, up to date on vaccinations and microchipped. All of these benefits are why the cost to adopt from a rescue versus a shelter may be as much as 25% higher. The difference you pay more than pays for itself in what it will save you in future vet bills. I recommend cat rescue adoptions for the reason this opens up a spot in the rescue to pull another death row cat. This cat will be saved from euthanasia and carefully nursed back to health and evaluated to ensure the forever home it eventually goes to will get a cat every bit as wonderful as the cat you just adopted from them.
My Mia was recently adopted out through Abby's Animal Angels Rescue in upstate S.C. The adopter had to pass the above qualifications concerning whether a vet believed the adopter would be a good cat parent. She went to a loving forever home and was winning over her new mama the first day by staying in her lap. Abby's Animal Angels Rescue was able to tell the adopter that Mia was great with other cats (the adopter has one other cat), as well as around dogs. Mia would also probably do well around children. This information just isn't available for most shelter cats up for adoption. Shelters are so busy and understaffed they don't have the time necessary to get to know each cat personally.
Whether you adopt from a shelter or a rescue, remember you will have your cat for MANY years to come. Knowing as much about your cat as possible before the adoption will benefit everyone. Especially the cat! Rescues, is there anything I'm leaving out here? Please comment with tips or additional info I may have left out.
Rescues, if I've left out any important information, please feel free to add to this article. And for those of you who have adopted a cat through a cat rescue, feel free to share your experience here.
Note: this is a copy of part 2 of the article supporting the page that maps 4,000 rescue organisations in the USA. It is here as well to allow people to comment if they wish...Michael