Dr Bruce Fogle in his book Complete Cat Care provides us with some nice tips about the kind of place you should visit when searching for a kitten or cat to adopt. I have added my thoughts where appropriate. I am not referring to cat breeders in this article. There are other considerations for breeders.
He advises that veterinarians’ noticeboards and receptionists are a good and reliable first stop if a person is genuinely interested in adopting a kitten or cat. I like the idea. I have never taken the time to look at noticeboards at veterinary clinics. Neither have I enquired about adopting a cat or kitten but I think they would be good places because there are a hub for people involved in animal welfare and the ownership of cats, dogs and other “pets”. And veterinary clinics are part of a network all of which points to a good possibility that you would be successful if you enquired about adopting.
He also advises that potential adopters should be very wary of pet shops. He believes, based on his experience, that most are unhygienic places where cats are often exposed to infectious diseases such as cat flu. There are also potential outlets for kitten and puppy farms; businesses where unscrupulous breeders produce many cats and dogs in unsanitary and unhealthy conditions with a disregard for the animals’ health and welfare. Often cats and dogs adopted via pet shops from these places are, unknown to the adopter, ill. They require expensive veterinary care. This becomes a heavy burden for a person who has perhaps adopted for the first time and who has quickly developed an emotional bond with their new companion.
Online and newspaper ads
Dr Fogle advises that we should also be suspicious of Internet and newspaper ads. Of course, I thoroughly agree with him. There are websites like Craigslist where sometimes cats and dogs are advertised. I believe that they are not in compliance with Craigslist’s rules but they are still on the website sometimes. “Sellers” who advertise cat adoptions for free should not be encouraged by adopters using them. This is because nasty individuals sometimes take these cats and use them for illegal purposes such as baiting fighting dogs. You will see kittens and cats for adoption on Facebook but they are often advertised on the webpages of animal rescue organisations. The best of these are excellent and they should be supported.
The problem is I don’t think it is advisable to ever adopt solely on the Internet without any physical connection between the adopter and the organisation adopting out the cat. I think you need to be on the spot and ask questions. In addition the person or persons selling or adopting out the cat needs to ask questions of the adopter.
The best rescue centres sometimes subject adopters to a forensic examination in the interests of (a) of cat welfare and (b) improving the chances of success of the adoption. And he advises that adopters should not be intimidated and should have their own questions prepared. Such question might include the following:
- Has the cat been examined and certified healthy by a veterinarian?
- Is the cat micro-chipped, vaccinated, treated for internal and external parasites and neutered or spayed?
- Has the cat been housed individually at the rescue organisation which would have reduced the risk of contracting infectious diseases?
- Does the cat come from a feral background or from the home of an individual who has relinquished their cat or cats?
- Does the cat have a name?
- Has the rescue centre carried out a personality assessment?
- Will there be any follow-up after adoption in case the adopter, who could be a first timer, needs advice with certain problems that might arise? This may avoid a failure in the adoption process.
- Does the rescue organisation adopting out the cat provide realistic advice to first-time adopters? There is a not insubstantial percentage of people who adopt from rescue centres who return their cat for various reasons. An underlying reason is the fact that a person has unrealistic expectations about cat ownership and they are first timers.
Is there a contract and does it specify that the adopter must not declaw the cat? This only applies to America and Canada but it is a vitally important issue. It is essential that adopters do not declaw an adopted cat and that they are fully cognizant of the reality of the operation which is a partial amputation of 10 toes and not “declawing” as the veterinarians like to describe it.
These are not really special cases but they are instances when you can do a bit more. You can adopt a disabled cat such as a blind cat. A blind cat can make a fantastic companion because you have to keep them indoors. This means that they are safe from danger outside which takes worry away from the cat owner. It’s a great benefit to both. And if there are two siblings or two cats who get along really well at the shelter then you should adopt both of them. That’s the advice of Jackson Galaxy and provided they genuinely get along that would be the advice of any cat behaviourist.
Adopt a black cat. These cats are unpopular but they make fantastic companions and they might be healthier. Adopt an elderly cat particularly if you yourself are elderly. It means that they fit into your timescale with respect to lifespan! The point I’m making is that people should be open-minded about adopting special case cats as they could be described. Don’t necessarily go for the mainstream such as cute kittens. There are some beautiful alternatives and you will be rewarded.