This is a discussion article on cat rescues and how transparency in what cat a pledge was used on is very important in the long run. Not only does it weed out the bad rescues out there, it also gives reassurance to those who gave money to see the happy ending everyone hopes for in the world of cat advocacy.
It’s important because a lot of people are leaving Facebook due to the drama. Others are unfriending everyone on their list who are involved in animal rescue due to the deception, lies, and name-calling. The drama is causing pledgers to doubt the pledging system as well as what has in the past been known as a “good cat rescue.”
Not only does the doubt affect the rescue, cats are being killed for space because there’s money involved to ready a cat for its forever home. In a perfect world, rescues would have enough money set aside to not depend on pledges. In the real world, veterinarians now charge almost as much (if not more) than human doctors.
When an individual sees the photo of a shelter cat and decides to pledge on that cat, the individual expects the money to be used on the cat to ensure it gets proper vetting (including time to recover from spaying) before going to a forever home. Cat rescues earn a good reputation not only by saying what they do but also in doing what they say.
Many shelters now offer community TNR programs and work with local rescues who may or may not work with feral cat caregivers. The cat is trapped and brought into the shelter and spayed/neutered then released where it was originally trapped after a proper recovery period. Females are best kept several days (especially if rain or snow is predicted because moisture can weaken the glue used to close a spay incision) before being returned. Males can be released sooner. Depending on temperament, the males in my colony spent one or two nights in a covered trap in my bedroom recovering.
A proper evaluation is also important, whether it be for shelter cats or cats from a feral colony, to determine whether the cat could successfully acclimate to a forever indoor home. There are some feral cats who would never enjoy being an indoor kitty or living in a home with access to a safe outdoor life (either a fence or a catio) and will need to be spayed or neutered at a good size and age, allowed to heal then released back into their colony.
Others labeled as ‘feral’ are cats who were abandoned by their family. Many cats quickly return to their sweet selves after ‘decompressing’ in a spare bathroom or bedroom.
Animal shelters should care what happens to the cats saved by a rescue. Rescues should care what happens to the cat once kind people pledge to their organization to save a particular cat. Rescues should also care about their pledgers and be transparent both before and after the pull to make sure they are doing what’s best for the cat.
Without the love and dedication of a lot of good people by rescues and those who follow the cats, shelter cats don’t stand a chance at getting out alive. All we’re asking for is a ‘paper trail’ on each cat saved and that the best decision possible is made for that cat.
What do you, as a cat advocate, think the proper procedure should be as far as transparency is concerned? Please comment below on any part of this article.
More on Champ can be found here.