In America, on Saturday, there was a nationwide “Clear the Shelter Day”. The idea is simple. Shelters offer free or reduced price adoptions throughout the day.
The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland hosted the event as have many other shelters throughout the country. It began in Texas last year and the event is supported nationally by a number of television networks such as NBC. There’s lots of publicity and all this helps make the event a great success.
The driving force for the success other than the publicity is the fact that adopters pay reduced fees or in the case of the Animal Refuge League adopters were encouraged to pay what they wanted to pay in respect of adoption fees.
Most of the adopters paid a fee of some kind, we are told. From that we can guess that people paid a reduced fee which is why they turned up in large numbers. They were queuing outside the door at 6 am, three hours before the shelter opened. By 3 pm 50 cats and 34 dogs had been adopted.
The majority of the shelter’s dogs and cats were adopted in a single day. And the success turned on paying a fee less than normal and to be honest the fee isn’t that high anyway. The Animal Refuge League say that they normally charge between $45 and $350. The average is somewhere around $110+ across the country I believe. This makes me wonder because the adoption fee is only a tiny part of the overall cost of looking after a cat. The adoption of a cat is not the same as the purchase of a product or item, a one-off expense.
An adopter will pay $45 within the first few weeks on food and other bits and pieces looking after a cat. Therefore, truthfully speaking, it would seem to me that the majority of these adopters may have misconceptions about the cost of looking after a domestic cat adequately. If they knew the true cost and had budgeted for it then a reduced adoption fee wouldn’t seem so attractive. It probably wouldn’t make much of a difference to adopters. Perhaps they were thinking about adopting and waited for the event.
It is difficult to understand the mentality although of course I’m not criticising the adopters. It is wonderful to see that so many cats and dogs were adopted in a single day. However, many adopters give up their cat for various reasons and a lot of the reasons are not good reasons. They are justifications when the real reason is going to be something like the cost or a lack of commitment or unwillingness to look after a cat for his or her life.