As I began to write something about this weekends Maddie’s® event, I checked to see what I wrote last year, not wanting to repeat myself. I saw a few things I’d probably change now, either for grammatical or artistic reasons, but all in all, I summed it up pretty well. It turns out, there are times when repeating yourself is not to be looked down on. Here is a link to that effort on my part, and an updated link to the Maddie’s® website.
This information is available in our store and on our main website, but as I am promoting Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days here this week, it seemed like something worth bringing up.
Firstly, and I suppose this should be obvious to everyone (although, based on some recent experiences, it is not), before you adopt, ask yourself why you want to. Do you have the time to care for a pet? Is it going to enhance your life, your family, your home? Do you live somewhere that is conducive to the type of animal you are considering? You might think someone working with an animal rescue would be the last to talk anybody out of adopting, but we do not merely want to adopt out cats; we want to adopt them to people who can properly care for them.
Consider, too, the age/type of animal versus your household makeup. If you have four children under the age of six, a two-month old kitten might not be the best choice. Nor would it be a good choice for an elderly person who uses a walking frame. It’s not just about the pet’s safety; it’s also about the safety of its caretakers. Think about these things and talk to those who are fostering the animals to be sure you get the right match for you. The cat you are drawn to because it’s pretty or reminds you of the one you had as a child might not be the one that actually suits your lifestyle, home and family.
When you come in to adopt you will first be asked to fill out an application (these can be found on our website and submitted before you come in to adopt if you like). As you can see from the application, it’s just basic information we require. We want to be sure the questions I posed in the preceding section have been dealt with, that you are allowed to have a pet where you live, and that you have some basic knowledge of what this little life will require of you.
If you are planning to adopt and are a renter or live in an apartment/condo, save yourself some time and get a note from the landlord or manager indicating you are permitted to have pets before you come in to adopt. The rules sometimes change, or the terms of them do; some apartments, for instance, charge an additional monthly fee for each pet. You need to know that and know that you can manage the added expense before you adopt.
Most people who have had already shared their home with a companion animal know all this, but working at the adoption clinics I see people on a weekly basis who have not taken all these things into account. For those people, all of this is worth mentioning and worth their consideration.
If you are thinking of adopting a companion animal in the near future, be it from us or elsewhere, you should look at the list of rescues and shelters taking part in the Maddie’s® Event this weekend. The adoption fees are waived, saving the adopters a little money for pet supplies, and the rescues are given a grant for each adoption.
This weekend is the long-awaited adoption event created and sponsored by Maddie’s Fund®. Purrfect Cat Rescue has been lucky enough to participate since Maddie’s® inception four years ago, and has helped with a long-standing issue within our group—an issue that troubles many other rescue groups as well—the harder-to-adopt cats.
There are always some of our kittens that sit in a cage at our adoption clinics, month after month, no closer to finding a home than when they first entered our program. Some of them are low-key cats who simply nap in their cage giving the public the impression they aren’t friendly or playful. Others have special dietary requirements and people are reluctant to adopt a pet whose food costs a dollar a day. Some cats, however social, are fonder of other cats than they are of people and would serve more as a companion to a family’s existing pet than the family itself; not everyone is up for that. And sometimes, a cat is not adopted simply because of the way it looks; black cats are still the source of superstition and stigma and less likely to be adopted.
However many reasons there are, at the end of the year—and sometimes even after a couple years—there are cats still living in their “temporary” foster home. We’re often given ideas on what to do: partner with other groups and exchange their hard-to-adopt cats for our own so they can be seen by a new audience; or pursue farmers, nurserymen, etc. in the hopes of placing these cats in “barn cat” situations are two frequent suggestions.
The latter is not very helpful for what I assume are obvious reasons: with the advent of big box stores, there are less and less nurseries and lumberyards that exist and need cats to keep the vermin population under control; and as far as farming communities go, those rural areas have some of the most populated animal shelters in the state and are hardly in need of any more companion animals. In terms of partnering with other animal welfare organizations, there are several reasons why that is not practical for us, the most obvious being that we are a small group; the larger organizations are not set up to work with rescues of our humble scale.
So, for years, the unanswerable question has been “What do we do with these cats?” Mostly, it’s been a case of them never leaving their foster home. That presents a problem because at a certain point our foster homes “max out” in terms of how many they can care for and taking new fosters is no longer practical.
Maddie’s® has not eliminated the problem but it has given another option and another resource. This new resource is the people of Maddie’s Fund® themselves. The publicity and information they provide during this yearly event increases the volume of people visiting our adoption clinics considerably. Increase the number of people attending and it increases the number of people who might consider a cat that’s a bit older or has a minor health issue.
Beyond that, by giving us a grant for each cat adopted, we now have more money to take care of those who are not. That might mean we can offer to help a future adopter pay for their adopted cat’s food. It might mean placing a cat in a sanctuary (an expensive option not previously open to us) where it can spend its life in the company of other cats since it likes them more than people. It also means we have more money to devote to our low-cost spay and neuter program, the backbone of our organization.
Returning to the main point—those harder-to-adopt cats, we have several we hope people will consider when coming to see us this weekend during the Maddie’s® Event. There is Boris, a silky, gorgeous black cat born with just three feet; something that does not impair him in the least. There’s Toad, a charming, black ball of fluff who was born with a slight vision problem that’s easily dealt with by keeping the lights slightly dimmer than usual. And Opus, a strapping orange tabby who having grown tired of sitting in a cage for the public to see, has taken to making nasty noises at them; this, despite the playful, affectionate cat he is in a home setting.
There are many other cats who fall into similar categories. If you are interested in hearing more about them, please ask one of our volunteers this weekend or contact us via this blog or our facebook page. And as always, thanks to those who take the time to stop by here.
Charles on behalf of PCR