reasons behind my adoption practices
I’m no stranger to being criticized for my approach to adoption. Denied applicants have thrown adult temper tantrums when I didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. Many ghost me when I try to educate about cat nutrition and care. I’ve even been denied grant money because I don’t practice “open” adoptions, where I minimize all barriers to adoption.
I don’t practice open adoptions for a reason!
Have you ever stood in the lobby of an open intake shelter? If you haven’t, you should! Every time I pick up a new foster at a shelter, my stomach twists and turns as I’m surrounded by people surrendering a member of their family. Hearing the scared cries of a cat in a carrier or the confused look in a dog’s eyes as their person fills out the paperwork and prepares to leave them behind shatters my heart.
I also see and receive hundreds of pleas for help through social media. Anything from, “I’m moving and my cat can’t come with me” (I’m not sure why you would move somewhere where a member of your family wasn’t welcome…) to “my cat is sick and I can’t care for him anymore” (most of this is from being fed years and years of crappy food) to “I found this friendly cat outside” (which means it had people and is either lost, or what I see more commonly, tossed out).
I tell all of my adopters over and over that I will ALWAYS, for ANY reason, take my monsters back at ANY time. I get that life happens and I want them to know that I’m here to help! However, I don’t adopt with the intention of getting them back. I’m looking for true forever homes where my babies will be apart of their family and be provided all the love and care they need to be happy, healthy cats for all their days.
I truly do not believe high volume shelters and rescues do the animals a favor by “just getting them out the door.” It doesn’t serve them if those animals come right back through their doors months or even years later (or worse, end up on the street). It’s a bandaid on a bullet wound.
Take, for example, a recent case I observed. A local high volume shelter had a kitten in foster care who was chronically underweight with chronic regurgitation/vomiting. The kitten’s foster mom had been in contact with me because she was worried about his condition and the fact that the shelter wasn’t willing to work him up. They also don’t partner with outside rescue organizations to pull kittens who may require more intensive medical care and evaluation prior to adoption. I know because I’ve asked to partner with them so I could help with these kinds of cases. Sadly, this is not a unique occurrence.
My friend decided to “adopt” this little boy so he could get the care he needed prior to finding his forever people. He went to a private vet for evaluation and the vet believes he has a hiatal hernia and pyloric stenosis, two congenitally chronic conditions that require surgical repair in order for this boy to live a normal life. Please tell me how ignoring this issue and adopting him out to someone who would have absolutely no idea what they were getting themselves into with him medically would be in the best interests of this sweet little man! He would either continue to vomit daily and live a life of chronic malnutrition and suffering, be returned due to his chronic vomiting and possibly adopted out to someone else for this cycle to repeat itself, tossed outside because he is a burden, or potentially euthanized because the family adopted him unknowingly and wasn’t able to provide the care he needed.
THIS IS NOT BETTER.
I believe in order to really battle this overpopulation problem, we have to tackle it from all sides. That means TNR. Spay abort. Fostering. Quality adoptions. Maybe most importantly, education. People can’t do better if they don’t know better.
I take a lot of factors into consideration throughout my adoption process. I aim to make the best matches between my babies and their new families. Ultimately, my priorities are what’s best for each of my babies individually and each baby has different needs (medically, socially, etc.).
Sadly, as described above, I see a lot of bad shit in rescue. I’m strict regarding adoptions for a reason. Nearly all of my babies had a rough start. After they come into my care, I promise them nothing but the best from here on out.