Foster Cat Journal: Question of the Day

For those of you wondering what the heck happened to me and why I didn't post this past week, it can be summed up thusly: Kitten Associates is (somewhat) Open for Business!

After weeks of preparation and endless head-scratching on how to set Adoption Policies, I finally have enough cobbled together where we can start promoting our group and sharing the kittens we have for adoption. Yes, the time has come!

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Kitten Associates brand new main page. You can visit us at: www.ktitenassociates.org

This week I started getting Pre-Adoption Applications. I ask many questions on my Ap in the hopes I can understand potential adopters better and figure out if they'll be a good match for my kittens. I've been accused of being too picky or asking for too much. Maybe that's true, but I'd rather be able to sleep at night, knowing I did what I felt was right, instead of just trying to move animals out the door. I don't have a shelter and I'm not "open admissions" so I have the luxury of taking time...just not too much or the kittens will be too big.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. How cute is Cinnie?!

Speaking of size, the girls were big enough to be spayed this week, so I got myself over to H.O.P.E at a way-too-early 7:30AM drop off time (okay, it's 8AM, but I got there early). The person doing admissions and I had a little snitty conversation about what to feed the cats. Apparently, dry food is good for cleaning cats teeth (one of the biggest mis-truths out there) and dry food “has special vitamins and minerals that kittens need for optimum health.” Really? And what vitamins and minerals are these? Corn? Wheat? Sugar? I was so shocked...then she said I should be working with my Vet to make sure my cats aren't suffering or getting the wrong nutrition. As if VETS know about nutrition! My Own Vets both told me they did not get much of anything regarding nutrition when they were in school. I really wanted to slap this woman in the face, but since this is a low cost S/N Clinic, I had to bite my tongue-which would have had better nutrition in it than some of those kibble foods..blah. Hey, it's great for dogs, but dogs are not cats. I only wished Margaret Gates from FNES had been there with me to let this woman have it.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Sugar Pie shows off her hunting skillz.

The kittens are home now and doing well. I de-wormed them again and all of a sudden, they're starting to get a little padding on their frame-finally. They have been too skinny (probably because of the dry food I refuse to feed them...hmpf!), but now they feel REALLY soft (from the grain-free and raw food they get) and chubby. I love it.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Yodel and her goofy little expression.

So my next task is to find homes. I've gotten many applications on Honey B. and Sugar Pie and I'm sorting through them. I already said; No, to a family-who felt I was being unfair saying no when I suggested they adopt a 5 or 6 month old kitten to a 1 yr or older cat because they have FOUR KIDS and a DOG. One of the kids is 3. Although they were a great family, just not for a tiny kitten. I think it would be too much on the cat and if the littlest child got hurt or bitten, then what?

It leaves me with a nagging question: How do I find homes where they won't EVER give up on these kittens? Where they will take good care of them for the rest of their life? Where they won't balk if it costs $1000.00 for Vet care should the cat fall ill. Where, if they break up with their boyfriend or husband or whatever, they won't give up the cat, too? I know. I can't solve all the issues, but how do I cut it down so that the fewest cats are at risk of ever being returned?

Two days ago I got a call from the adopter of two of Santa's Team, kittens. These were Donner and Dancer, the two kittens I felt went to the wrong home, who I tried to get back-unsuccessfully. Now they want to give up Dancer because she is "too shy." The one person in the family-an 18 yr old daughter, who was working with the kitten, has moved out and now the kitten only hides...this was one of the reasons, I wanted the cat back months ago.

So I told the person, I would help him either work out the behavior issues so he can keep the cat or he would have to return it to where he adopted it from...and that I no longer have a relationship with this group. He said he would call me back.

I haven't heard from him since.

Now I wonder...will the cat be given up, given to a shelter, let outside? I have no idea. This is what I face times 6 more cats...

This is the tough stuff. How to find great homes for little kittens who need more work than adults, more love (maybe?) and certainly careful guidance so they group up to be outstanding companions.

Where are you wonderful families and folks? Where are you? What question do I need the answer to to KNOW you will do right by my fosters?

Comments

I agree with be careful but not too strict

I've heard complaints from plenty of people that the rescue they wanted to adopt from was "too strict" so they ended up buying a puppy or getting a free kitten from doG-knows-who. Yes, you have to screen people carefully, but I think hard and fast, un-bendable rules could leave out some potentially good homes. There are cat rescues who insist cats be kept indoors only. This would leave me out (and I think my cats are treated very well), as we have cat-fenced our yard and our cats do go in the backyard. They also go out on a harness/leash and in a stroller.
One big recommendation is to talk to their vet's office if this isn't their first pet. We generally know who will provide a good home, if they have a good relationship with us.
Home visits are good, too, if at all possible.

Food is an issue here. When

Food is an issue here. When I came down here, my cat Meezer (who looks Siamese, but isn't) went on a hunger strike and ended up in the specialty clinic with fatty liver. She was stealing human food off of our plates but apparently not eating the cat food. I hand raised her when her outside mom, a local feral, quit feeding her and her litter mate, who did not make it. She was about 3 weeks old when I took her in. My vet wanted to put her down but she started eating A/D off of a Q-tip like a vulture, so it was round the clock feedings and such. She thrived until we came down here. Long story short, she was at about 18 months of age, 5 pounds, in the specialty clinic (we bankrupted ourselves saving her) and now at 3 is 15 and maybe a little too fat, LOL. The vet she saw there does not like dry food AT ALL. Too many carbs, etc.
One of the collies I had before Katie, Rosie, developed idiopathic epilepsy later on in life. She was hypothyroid and had been on meds for this for years. She didn't seize a lot but I got on a couple of canine epilepsy lists and consulted with nutritionists. Well, I mean she didn't seize everyday or with regularity but she seized enough. My vet did not want to do phenobarb or any other drugs so we looked at diet. Seizures seemed to hit when there was some sort of dietary upset. I had their food shipped to me once a month around this time and I had run out the night before the first seizure because of some sort of delivery foul-up and so I cooked rice for them. Bang, first seizure the next morning. So anyway, we started looking at dietary controls instead of meds, which have their own nasty side effects sometimes. We adhered to a fairly tight schedule. In the morning, she got oatmeal and yogurt, sometimes with blueberries. Her evening meal was her dog food and such. Snacks/treats were also scheduled as much as possible. Thyroid meds were given exactly 12 hours apart. Traveling with her took some planning. I needed a hotel room with a coffeemaker so I could make her oatmeal. A fridge was a huge plus. (vanilla yogurt, usually Dannon) I can vividly recall sitting in a service center on the PA Turnpike, dishing up her evening meal in the van and serving it to her in her crate, because we were running late. Tess, the other collie would not eat in the van.
We adjusted her diet and got to this regimen with some trial and error. My vet was on board. She did draw the line when a nutritionist suggested boiled eggs AND the shells. So did I, LOL. At any rate, she lived to be 12.5 and ended up having to be put down after a spinal injury flared up and could not be resolved--the clinic owner/other vet in the practice tried mightily. When she died, she was one month to the day of being two years seizure free, no meds, only diet. And the last seizures were beauts, she started clustering on a late Sunday night/early Monday morning--Labor Day, from around midnight until 6 AM. That situation could have really deteriorated. We'll never know if it was the diet, but those last years were good. Well, except for a nasty dog attack about 6 months before I lost her. A neighbor's nasty rott attacked both dogs while we were out walking, another sore subject, hence the spinal problem, but the dogs did recover and Tess lived to be 13 before I lost her to cancer.
Robin, would you please email me privately? I had a major email crash a few weeks ago and lost all my emails and addresses. Thanks.

contractual obligations

The shelter I adopted my current man-in-charge from built a clause into my adoption contract which stated that if I was ever unable to care for my cat, I would bring him back to the same no-kill shelter I was adopting him from. That's actually why he was at the shelter, he previously belonged to a marine who adopted him as a kitten from the shelter and was then deployed to Iraq, so the marine brought him back to the shelter. The adoption contract was a legally binding agreement and if the shelter ever found out I did anything to break that contract, it would be within their right to take action against me. Taking this route will identify people upfront who might not be a good fit (seen from their unwillingness to agree to the terms) and hopefully make it so that those honest people who are truly unable to care for their cats for one reason or another give you the opportunity to take the cat back and ensure the cat is continuing to receive proper care and not just left outside or at a local shelter.

Ask all the questions you

Ask all the questions you feel YOU need too. These have been your babies and you want to give them every chance at a FOREVER home. Too many people seem to think cats are "disposable" when something goes wrong or the new human baby comes along (and for some bizarre reason the cat is no longer acceptable). If everyone felt like we do, that our kitties ARE MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY, then we wouldn't have the worries we do. So, in my opinion, if you're going to do this kind of work and love these babies like you do, then you make sure YOU feel comfortable with the choices you make. Hopefully in your heart, you'll know!
God bless you and good luck.

You can't be too

careful when it comes to adopters but if you're too strict it will drive people away.

I'd look at WCR's adoption forms. They ask a lot of good questions.

What did the "other" rescue say when you told them the adopters of Dancer and Donner were having problems? Will they help?

doing the right thing

Robin, you are doing a great thing by screening this much for potential "parents", and if the people get irritated by that, well, they definitely are NOT a good fit. kittens take alot of care and attention. Keep up the great work and good luck with kitten associates!

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