Recently, more than the average number of cats have been returned to us. In most of these cases a little more forethought on the part of the adopting persons would have saved us and the cats some frustration and anxiety. One of the reasons rescue groups require people to fill out an application is to assure that they understand that having a pet is a responsibility and a job, in addition to a pleasure.
As much as we want to find homes for all the cats we foster, we are not so eager to see them go as to place them with people who have not given some real thought to what it’s going to mean to be responsible for a life. People sometimes romanticize having a pet—think it’s all going to be purring and cuddling and doing cute tricks, they think someone else in the house who reluctantly agreed to the cat is going to come around, they think the cats and dogs they already have will be thrilled with the new addition despite knowing full well that the current pet is happy to have the house to themself.
It’s odd, being so new to this as I am, to realize that part of my job in working the adoption clinics is not my trying to convince someone to adopt a cat, but sometimes quite the opposite: to convince someone that maybe they aren’t ready for a pet, or that the pet they are thinking about isn’t the right choice for their home and family. I see people drawn to a cat they like looks of, but when they talk about the kind of a cat they want (low-key, playful, cuddly lap-cat, always running around), I see they are looking at the wrong cat.
One of my own fosters, Suzanne, was adopted this weekend. She is a wild woman, jumps on the furniture, grumbles under her breath when you tell her “stop it” (it sounds ridiculous but anyone who has met her can confirm that she really does grumble under her breath), insists on going into any closet, drawer, or cupboard you open . . . She was clearly not the cat for someone who wants a quiet lap cat to cuddle with in the evenings (although she does enjoy a good cuddle once she tires herself out).
That’s my plea to any prospective pet caretakers: think about what 15 to 20 years of responsibility really means; think about why you want the pet in the first place; how you live; how much time you’ll spend with it; which one—if any, is truly the right one for you.
Charles on behalf of Purrfect Cat Rescue