Shelter cat rescue discussion: Pledge before rescue or donate after rescue

This debate has heated up on social media as to which is the proper and best protocol for saving a cat from being killed at the local animal shelter.

Squash has until Nov. 30
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The comment section of this article will “carry” the article. In other words, I want the readers to explain which they think is best and why they feel that way. Personal opinion is wanted but posting anything that can’t be proven is a “no-no.”

Pledge before rescue

The pledge system is when a shelter cat needs donations made before the cat is actually saved to entice a rescue to pull the cat. Some cats have medical expenses that will run into $$$$$ and the pledges ensure the rescue can properly care for the cat.

The downside of this is you don’t know what rescue will step up to save the cat or whether the rescue is a scam and only wants to save the cat for the money that comes with the cat.

A lot of shelter cats are shared on individual Facebook pages and often reminder messages are sent once the cat is safe to ensure the pledge is paid. The bad news is a lot of pledgers get selective amnesia and don’t pay what they promised.

Donate after rescue

For this type of rescue, the group who rescues the cat should already have a plan in place moneywise to save the cat and to cover vet expenses, food, litter, etc. Most reputable rescues will post any needs on their Facebook page and people know exactly who they’re donating to.

The rescue appreciates any donations that come in, but the rescue doesn’t plan on which cat to rescue because money comes attached.

Cat advocates divided

The topic of pledges before the rescue or donations after the rescue has created a lot of drama on Facebook. People who have been friends for years are unfriending and blocking each other on social media instead of working together to save the shelter cats.

Comments and opinions are welcome. Please keep it civil.

Note: Squash has until November 30 for rescue or adoption. He’s currently at Cabarrus County Animal Control in Concord, NC. Click here for more info

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

16 thoughts on “Shelter cat rescue discussion: Pledge before rescue or donate after rescue”

  1. Pledges before an animal is pulled is bottom line important. A solidly good rescue organization has many things going on other than the animals they may consider pulling from a shelter. There are animals from many other situations they are compelled to save, the abandoned, abused, neglected. This is why we call them “Rescues”. Most organizations are small and consist of working individuals. Most do not have the luxury of a full time public relations person, nor a full time fundraising person. Raising funds for day to day operations requires hard work just to continue to stay afloat. Depending on donations alone after an actual shelter pull can wipe out savings and result in a total halt of any intake. This is a place no rescue wants to be. Just look at the faces of those that get adopted to new loving homes and then make your decision if pledges for an animal is worth doing before the pull. Then look at the one that was neglected or abused and needed funds and for help and none was there. I know how hard it is to raise funds. I have sold candy bars and donuts out in the snow and freezing cold just to raise a hundred dollars to put into a rescue and this was way in the past before shelter rescue was ever even thought of. If shelters do their homework, and references on the rescues that pull, then there should not be a worry if funds were used for the manner intended.

  2. The cats in shelters have a brief stay for the most part . The volunteers and shelter staff have to be able to do quick turn around to save their lives and get them to rescue so we start raising funds for rescue vetting and transport as soon as possible. Before a cat can even leave the shelter a rescue has to pay a pull fee for the vetting services received, which averages about $40-$50 per cat for a combo test, rabies, distemper, The cats also get a capstar for flea, 3 days Panazurel (for cocidia) and 3 days Panacure (worms and Guardia both treatments need to be repeated ) A micro chip if rescue desires. This is the simple wellness program at Cabarrus. The cats also will receive if needed simple illness vetting such as eye drops for infection and Clavamox for URI. So if a rescue pulls a family of 5 the pull fee would average around $200 depending on the age of the kittens. Next transportation must be arranged if you are using paid transport it is a average cost of $75 and in cases of over state or air travel you must have a veterinary exam and legal health certificate which runs about $50 upfront. If you have volunteer a transporter you still must pay for gas and sometimes vehicle rental . All these fees must be paid before the cat leaves for its pull rescue. After that the spay/neuter illness vetting plus daily care expenses come in to play for the rescue. If a rescue does not have a financial plan via pledges or rescue fund raising this can spell disaster for the rescue and the pull. Having your financial and foster plan in place is crucial.

  3. Do we know the percentage of people who stand by their pledge? Sorry to be a bit ignorant on this topic. How much is the typical pledge and do they send money to the rescue within a certain time? I’d have thought that a rescue would be foolish to commit to saving a cat only on the basis of a pledge. Don’t they need tangible results? Cash in the bank first?

    Sending hard cash direct quickly must be preferable.

  4. A newly discovered problem that may be relevant to which funding method you choose: not sure how widespread this is, but in my state (NC) it’s on the books that any group that solicits funds must first get a license from the Secretary of State’s Office. This little-known rule has recently been enforced, but only on a small scale so far. Have had several cases where $1000 fine was set — was able to negotiate down in one case but it still was traumatic. It would seem that getting pledges first, then finding rescue would be better from the rescue’s standpoint as they wouldn’t be directly soliciting. Yet where does that leave volunteers who are making those arrangements? Not sure Secy. of State’s Office will pursue that angle too, but it worries me.

  5. Well, first of all whether a rescue gets pledges prior to taking or after is really a mute point.
    Bad rescues will still take those cats that they feel people will pledge on!
    In my opinion..I prefer pledging before, because once a cat is safe people rarely pledge!
    The best way is to pledge and state reputable rescue only, then check the rescue who pulls out before funding!

    Most people DO FUND their pledges in my experience!

    The drama behind this topic comes from a source that seems to create ongoing problems for many!!

    • I agree with Louise. Pledging for a cat that is not yet safe allows people to be a direct part of the team saving that particular cat. It is a very rewarding experience to pledge on a cat that desperately needs help and then see that cat saved knowing that your pledge helped to enable its rescue. Once a cat is already saved, there is far less motivation to donate when there are still thousands more in need of help.

      Many rescues are also very small operations run by one or two people who don’t have the resources or time to fundraise and regularly receive enough donations to help as many cats as they are able to. Pledges often mean the difference between whether or not they can save a cat, especially when the cat may need expensive medical care.

      Raising pledges and following up on them to make sure they are paid is a lot of work, but that work usually pays off in seeing that most pledges do get paid.

    • Yes they are and it would be nice if people would realize the complaintants are causing many cats to loss the chance at a good life. Many of these people are not envolved with the difficult and sometimes heartbreaking task of helping to save animals surrendered to county shelters.

      • Complainants have put me in the position where I can’t write to help ANY rescues anymore. People who once supported the cats have even said they’re unfriending anyone in animal rescue because the fighting is so bad now.


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