Cat Rescues Are Struggling
by Elisa Black-Taylor
Coral needs adoption
Cat rescues are struggling. The economy is horrible and unemployment is high despite what the numbers show. Many cat rescues I've spoken with are in danger of going under or losing their cats.
The #1 issue facing the rescues I’ve spoken to is no one wants to adopt a cat these days. I’ll bet the readers thought I would list money as the main concern. Unfortunately, the problem with undesirable cats (meaning any cat over 6 months old) in itself creates the shortage of funds to care for rescue cats.
I think this is sad. The blame for lack of homes must eventually fall on the cat owner who refuses to spay or neuter their pet. Combine this with society’s warped belief that only kittens are desirable, then add in the callousness in which people turn in an adult cat to the shelter. The end result is a cat facing euthanasia or with only a rescue to save it. We as rescuers take the nations unwanted to care for and love.
Cat rescues need money to operate. There’s food, litter, cleaning supplies, bedding, water, vet related expenses and increased electricity costs to keep the animals comfortable year round.
No one wants to donate for cats already pulled from death row. Animal activists are gun-ho about getting the cat to safety then conveniently forget about it. Rescuers are left holding the cat, so to speak. Some of these cats will never leave the rescue environment for a home of their own. Many are timid and will be hard to place regardless. We all have those we feel need their own family to love. Cats ask only to be loved and cared for and love back unconditionally.
I’d like to describe the predicament I, along with many others, have found common in cat rescue. When I began pulling cats from the euthanasia list, I truly believed someone out there would want them. Now I’ve been faced with a cut in hours at work. Many rescue operators are unemployed due to the economy. I considered myself lucky to still have a job.
I have a houseful of beautiful cats, but donations are few and far between. People are struggling just to put food on the table and just don’t have any money to free up to help.
I was able to place several cats through newspaper advertisement by doing a big no-no. I gave them to wonderful people in wonderful homes which I checked out personally. I’ve kept tabs on all of them and the cats are doing beautifully. I’m very proud when their new family sends me a photo and thanks us for the wonderful job my daughter and I did in rehabilitating them.
One friend of mine who is in cat rescue told me she had dropped her price in an effort to increase adoptions. How can that work when people won’t even adopt a cat if the adoption fee is waved?
I cannot continue to care for my cats long term. I had hoped to advertise them nationally through different pet adoption sites. Several of my friends in rescue have been unsuccessful even through Petfinder.com. People look and question but never adopt.
So with the problem of long term care ahead of me and no means to support the cats due to my hours cut at work, I’m faced with the choice of returning the cats to a shelter (not!) or allowing most of them to go outside during the day and hopefully not being shot or mauled to death by a wild animal.
I have begged every one I know of for help. All of the local rescues are full. We do not have a Petsmart or Petco where I live or I could possibly arrange an adoption event.
I had a Facebook friend lose all of her cats last week. She was turned in for unsanitary conditions and several rescues did step up to take them. She was fortunate. I wonder how many people who are called “hoarders” are simply cat rescuers who plead for help, ANY help, and everyone turns a deaf ear to them? After cats are taken, there are whispers about what a bad person this "hoarder" is. There's no mention this person begged for help for months. Begged for homes for her cats.
I'm the first to admit my friend got in over her head and did some irresponsible things. My point being when she first asked for help no one helped. Perhaps no one could help at the time. I don't know.
I wonder how many of us who truly love cats and started out with the best of intentions and funding will face life when our cats are taken from us? We’re similar to a group of beggars, always running one chip-in or fundraiser or another just to survive.
This isn’t only happening to rescues, but to foster homes for the kitties. Everyone is at full capacity. Fosters have more than they can handle. The experienced as well as the newbies to rescue are all affected, so it’s not simply a matter of “you should have anticipated this.”
Those wanting to adopt a cat are encouraged to adopt from their local shelter. I’d like to add local rescues as an alternative to shelters. To adopt from a rescue frees up a space for them to pull another animal on death row. And adopt an older cat if at all possible. They make the best of companions and demonstrate their gratitude every day.
I've included photos of some of mine who are up for adoption. As you can see, beautiful cats do end up on death row, then go without a home of their own after rescue. Mia has been with us a year, and the others almost as long.
Are any of the readers who are in rescue facing the same issues? Are there any easy answers? Are there any answers at all? Besides spay and neuter to prevent the problem from worsening. What do you do when your rescue is at the point mine and so many others have reached?