"They are not our property — We not their owners.
A just and compassionate world for animals begins
with our language and our actions."
In Defense of Animals, Mill Valley CA
When you first adopt a cat, you do so with the best intentions. In fact, without those good intentions, most shelters and individuals would never approve the adoption in the first place. Your new pet cat will probably be a kitten -- almost 90% are. That kitten, living inside and being lovingly cared for, may live 20 years or more. That's a very long time to stay committed to a pet. Luckily, many people bond very closely to their cats and would never consider giving them up. Others like "having them around", but if their life situation changes — which it most certainly will over a 20-year period — the pet cat may find its value lessened and ultimately be relinquished.
Even those instances where the cat/human bond is very strong, life circumstances frequently intervene. The guardian marries someone who is allergic to cats, has a baby that "torments" the cat, or gets too old or too ill to keep the cat. Sometimes the cat develops unsavory behaviors, such as inappropriate elimination, frequently as a result of a change in the cat's living arrangements — a new home, a new pet, a new baby. At these points, even the most loved cats find their lives hanging in the balance.
If you are one of the many people that find yourself with a cat that, for whatever reason, you can't keep and you want to find it a "good home, you have a very difficult problem. Two out of three cats that lose their homes will never find a new one! Understanding this situation can help your pet cat be among the small group of cats who are successfully re-homed. Here are a few tips to improve your cat's chances:
Much is made out of the importance of collecting an "adoption fee" to ensure the cat goes to a good home and not to the nearest research lab. Although there may be some truth to this caution, it should not be a concern if you are diligent in checking references and verifying the permanent address of the new guardian.
Just as we do not charge for human adoptions, we believe it is important not to charge for companion animal adoptions. They are not our "property" — as an adoption fee might imply. We are merely their guardians, entrusted with their care and protection. Because of this we discourage the charging of a fee. It is not necessary — the new guardian will pay for the cat for the rest of its life in providing its care. If someone feels they need to "pay" for the cat suggest they make a contribution to a local cat rescue group instead.
Here's some tips on deciding if the adoption candidate will make a good guardian:
If you're comfortable, give the cat to the new guardian. Make sure you bring the cat's belongings — toys, litter box, food. Having familiar scented items will ease the transition to the new home. Recommend that the new guardian start the cat off in a single room to get adjusted before giving it reign over the entire dwelling. Follow-up in a week or two to make sure everything is going smoothly. Be prepared to take the cat back if the new home doesn't work out.