For those new to visiting this blog (Welcome! Thanks for visiting!), I’ll give a bit of a background.
When we moved here, there were a number of yard cats. My late father loved the yard cats and took care of them, and we are continuing to do so. Outdoor cats do play an important part in keeping the rodent population under control, so they are quite welcome.
Of the cats that were here when we moved in, there are three left that are “originals”. In fact, I have pictures of them from when a daughter and I were able to visit in 2015. Being in the country, the life span for cats is pretty short, so we’ve been encouraging the cats to stay close to the house as much as possible. The females do tend to stay, but the males usually disappear. Once in a rare while, they come back.
The first summer we tried to adopt out yard kittens, we did manage to get a few adopted out, though a couple ended up indoors, either because they were injured and required more care, or they would otherwise not survive outdoors. We’ve also been snagging the females to bring them in before they could get pregnant. We were able to bring in two pregnant females, both “originals”, to have their litters indoors. One was a successful transition, while the other hated being indoors so much, we discovered she was killing her own kittens. We had to let her back outside, where she promptly got pregnant again, and those kittens got well taken care of.
The end result is that we currently have sixteen cats indoors, two of whom moved out here with us. The males are fixed, but most of the females are not. We had been able to socialize some of the female yard kittens enough that we could snag them indoors before reaching their first heat, then had to work on socializing them all over again, as they got used to new cats around them, and learned how to use a litter box, etc.
The thing is, in the last couple of years, we have been able to adopt only one cat – and that was at about the time time we had to bring in another, so the number indoors stayed the same. We’re in the country. Everyone already has more cats than they know what to do with. We are where people dump their unwanted cats. If we want to adopt cats out, we have to reach out further.
A few years ago, before the world went insane, we reached out to a “local” humane society, but got no response. No one answered the phone, they didn’t respond to emails or Messenger. Talking to other people who tried to go to their location, they found the doors locked and no one around.
I follow them on Facebook, however, and recently there has been a lot of activity. So I thought I’d try again and, in the wee hours of the morning, sent a note on Messenger. This morning, there was a response, asking for a phone number. I got a call soon after.
Here begins my rant.
When I sent my message, I briefly stated we had some socialized yard cats to adopt out and asked if I could put the word out through their page. I didn’t want to have to turn them in to be able to adopt them out.
I would have been happy with a simple yes or no.
The first thing I was asked was if they were fixed and up to date on vaccinations. Which, yeah, I understand they would need to know that, but did it have to be the place to start? The person clearly had already made some assumptions, so I had little chance to explain our situation, and she was far more interested in our outside cats than the inside ones.
Because we’re expected to be able to have all of them fixed and vaccinated, too, even though we can’t even touch most of them.
At one point, she did mention in passing that they were completely full.
Yeah. That’s why I was asking if I could put the word out through their page, not bring them in.
They also weren’t going to offer any sort of assistance, unless the cats were fixed and fully vaccinated.
And since the male indoor cats were fixed and there was no chance of the indoor females getting pregnant, we needed to focus on the outdoor cats. We need a plan of action. Do we have a plan of action?
We went from my asking “hey, is there a chance I offer socialized yard cats up for adoption through your page?” to “spay/neuter/vaccinate the outside cats.” Especially the females.
Because they’ll get pregnant, you know. Population control and all that.
Yes. I know.
And they probably have FIV, because there are intact males, and they are likely fighting.
I eventually got a chance to say that we had about 20 outdoor cats, give or take, and the cost would be extremely prohibitive (not to mention unrealistic). She started telling me that those 20 cats would quickly become 80 cats.
Yes. I know. Cats can get pregnant.
As to the 80 cats comment, I told her no, not really. They’re yard cats. They tend to have a short life span. Of the cats that were here when we moved here, there are only 3 or 4 left.
There was a bit of a silence, followed by an “oh.”
Newsflash. We live in an area where things eat cats like popcorn.
Anyhow, she started to get really pushy about the “plan of action” and were we willing to do that, because they’re not willing to help people if they’re not willing to do that.
What “that” is, I never quite fully understood, but apparently, I was supposed to have it.
Eventually, she mentioned there was someone local who could spay and neuter cats at a lower price, and apparently would even come here to trap the cats and transport them. But she’d help only if people were willing to have a “plan of action.” I agreed to having my contact information passed on. Oh, and somewhere in there, she did answer my question, saying that no, they couldn’t post anything about our cats, because if they let just anyone “advertise” their cats, they’ve have nothing else on their page.
She could have told me that from the start, and in a less insulting way. It was actually the answer I expected, but thought it was worth a try. I now regret asking.
I was bighting my tongue a lot in this conversation. It really felt like I was being attacked for something I wasn’t even contacting them about. She just took over the conversation to push doing things to the outside cats, based on assumptions she had no interest in clarifying.
This is why I hate contacting humane societies. Only once have we had a positive experience. All others treated us with disdain, condescension or even open hostility. And we’re talking about experiences in three different provinces. It’s like they get special training on how to assume the worst about people, and treat them like crap. I realize they probably deal with a lot of shitty people, but that doesn’t excuse the attitude being aimed at everyone. It actually makes me kinda understand why people would dump animals at their doors. Or dump them in the country. It should not be done, and there’s no excusing it, but in my experience, shelter staff are doing a good job of driving people into it.
She must have caught on to my extended silences meaning I had a problem with what she was saying. At one point, she did switch gears and start telling me how great it was that we’re taking care of these cats, and thanking me for doing it, because there are people out there who don’t do that, and people who will just dump their cats.
I said yeah, that’s likely how we got some of the ones we have. That gave me an opening to bring up The Distinguished Guest as a possible lost cat. They did have a lost cat on their files for our area, but the description did not match.
As for her attempt to switch gears and thank me for taking care of the cats, she somehow managed to still be condescending about it, but that could be just me already being ticked off. Still, going from insinuating I was irresponsible for not having a “plan of action” (without defining what was actually meant by that) to thanking me for being responsible for the cats… let’s just say it was too late to make up for the damage done.
I was really glad to end that conversation.
With all our efforts to adopt these cats out, there is one thing that keeps irritating me. The woman I spoke to reminded me of it. She said that if the cats aren’t already fixed and vaccinated, no one wants them.
Therein is the heart of my rant.
If you’re paying to adopt a cat, yes, it makes sense to expect that they’ve received a particular level of care and treatment, first.
The thing is, any time we’ve had a nibble on someone interested in adopting, the first question is whether the cats have been fixed. Not about the cats themselves, their history, if they’re socialized, litter trained, get along with other cats, etc. No. Just, “are they fixed”.
Here’s the thing.
We’re not a pet store.
We’re not a shelter.
We are just trying to keep the cats from starving, or ending up in the belly of a coyote.
When we’re trying to adopt a cat out for free, to a good home, and the first question we’re asked is “are they fixed”, it tells me two things.
The first is, this person is basically asking us to pay THEM to take in a “free” cat. For a female, in our area, it’s typically $350 to get fixed. Yes, it’s possible to get it done at lower cost, but there are usually limits to that; either the people who do it are booked solid, or it would require putting the cats through the stress of a very long drive, or we don’t qualify for the programs because we don’t live in the right area, or are not destitute enough. This doesn’t include the cost of keeping up on vaccinations. What it all boils down to is, they want us to pay about $350 for them to take a cat, at no cost to them.
The other things is, if the person wanting to adopt a “free” cat isn’t willing to spend the money to take care of it themselves, then they are not the “good home” we’re looking for. The cats would probably be better off taking their chances with the coyotes.
What really chokes me after people find out the cats aren’t fixed, they act as if we are such terrible, cruel people for not doing it. Suddenly, we are the “bad guys” and irresponsible and the reason why there is such a huge problem with exploding cat populations.
Nope. We take care of our cats.
And other people’s cats.
For the amount of money we’re spending since moving here, just on cat food, we could have replaced our roof two years ago, but we do it anyway. We’re not going to let animals go hungry, but expecting us to also pay to have them all fixed and vaccinated before someone is willing to adopt a “free” cat is not reasonable. If they’re not willing to pay to take care of a free cat, we’re sure as heck not going to do it for them, and they’re not the “good home” they’re trying to convince us they are. And I am not going to be made to feel guilty for it. We’re also not going to shoot them all because people won’t adopt a “free” intact cat, as has been recommended to us (not that we can do it, but we have plenty of neighbours with guns who could, and would, if we asked them to).
So yeah. I’m frustrated. Being treated with condescension and being told I wouldn’t get help I wasn’t even asking for, unless we spend hundreds more dollars we don’t have, isn’t helping. We’re giving up a lot to keep the cats fed, warm and as safe from predators as we can.
Apparently, that’s not good enough.
Maybe we should start charging for the cats. $400 up front for a female, a month in advance, and we’ll take their chosen cat in to be fixed and vaccinated, and care for it during recovery.
Do you think that would work?