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Letting Go. A Few More Things.

Instead of adding another comment to the growing comments under some of my recent posts about my fears concerning the adoption of Donner & Dancer; I thought I'd address them here.

Thank you to everyone for sharing your concerns, suggestions and stories about how you came to have cats and how you care for them. In some instances, you may have been a “novice” cat parent, in others, you've done rescue for years and “been there and felt those tears” yourself. I've considered what each of you has to say and it does make a difference in how I'm processing this situation.

As a Buddhist, I am familiar with the importance of compassion, which was partially why I was so conflicted about this particular adoption. I wanted to give these people a chance-even though they had no Vet reference, which for two kittens who'd spent the majority of their life sick, was no easy feat. They'd had cats over ten years ago, so at least they'd had them. They have two young boys and two older girls. That felt like a lot of folks for Dancer, who is shy. I didn't want to overly stress her out. My own cat, Gracie has chronic dermatitis, which we believe is due to stress. It is my compassion for my foster cats, which comes first, that makes me want to protect them and provide the best home for them I can. Add to that, I must open myself up to adopting to families I'm not positive about, because like many of you said, if the family provides love over all else, then is that was is most important to the well being of a cat?

That sparks an interesting debate, one I hope you will take part of-What IS the most important thing, we as cat lovers, provide to our cats? Is it a clean, stable home environment? Is it a warm place to sleep? Is it species appropriate food and a desire to keep the cat healthy for the duration of its' life? What is the balance, if there must be at least love and....what?

There's no easy answer. Perhaps the kittens ARE getting lots of play time and love OR as their own stepmother said to me as they were walking out the door, ”You know how kids are...two days from now they'll forget about the cats.” That does not sit well with me. Nor does this “gut” feeling that can't be teased apart into perfectly identifiable chunks- the clear list as to why this adoption bothers me like few others have. I fear the cats are living in poor conditions and I know they are being feed very lousy food. In my minds' eye, I see them as adults. They are obese. One is so fearful they joke about never seeing it. They don't have a sparkle in their eyes. Maybe they just sit around and wait for the bowl of kibble to be filled up again. That's why I'm upset.

After all those kittens suffered, I've placed them somewhere where their future may be even worse than their past. For that, I will never forgive myself. I need to make some changes in how I approach adoptions and I hope to be able to get permission to do a home visit prior to the adoption-if I feel it's necessary. Most groups around here do them. It's not a big deal to ask someone if you can just make sure the environment is safe and appropriate. It would also help when we adopt to families with dogs or other cats.

Will I go visit Dancer and Donner to see how they're doing? I'm not sure I can, though the family has invited me to see them when I'm in the area. They live 2 miles from here, near my where my nephew lives. I'm torn. If I go, see the cats, see they are living in what I fear, then I will really be upset and unless they are clearly in an abusive situation, I can do nothing to get them back.

So, do I go or do I just go on with my life and hope the cats will be all right?

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This adoption was harder on you than some of your others. You had the cats longer, and brought them from the point of certain death. You are more attached to them. You must follow your feelings. They have invited you to visit, so visit them. Take them some of the cat food, if you haven't already. Explain why you think they need to do this extra step. Also make sure that you have proof of their vet choice. As much as they have been though, changing their diet may make the kitties sick, and they may need to be watched over more. If they don't understand that they are special needs kitties, then explain that you will take them back, just to ensure that they are taken care of for life.
Only you can understand your feeings, follow them or you will wonder about , and never be at peace. Jacki

I don't understand why they can't be taken back if the people aren't living up to their end of the bargin. You made an agreement, if they are breaking it then you should be able to ake the kittens back. But you need to go see them to know what is really going on because you are going to make yourself sick with worry until you do. What if's aren't going to help - you need to have concrete information.

Robin, BJ above wrote the most sensible thing I can think of for your situation. If you DON'T go visit, you'll just torture yourself with "what ifs?" If you do, you can at least try to have a positive effect on the kittehs by bringing them healthy food and demonstrating that they like it, etc. One thing for sure: If you don't see them all all, you'll never know what's become of them. And knowing you may pop in for a visit will be a strong incentive for them to take perhaps better care of them than they otherwise might have. Information is power, and if you cut yourself off from that, you truly will be impotent to affect your little cats' lives in any good way. And most of all, doing SOMETHING is better than doing nothing, especially when it so drastically affects your own wellbeing. I know you'll do what's right for you and the kitties -- you always do.

What do you mean when you say they are feeding the cats bad food? You said it's from the grocery store, but is it "stop and shop brand value kat food" or say purina? I know you're an advocate of feeding raw, but not everyone is convinced that it's the best choice(myself included). I spoke with both my vet and a close friend's wife (who is a vet herself). They both told me that raw meat is dangerous and should never be given to cats. Maybe this family was told the same thing. Rayne eats purina kibble and she is in perfect health. She weights 8 lbs and is very energetic. I'm kinda playing devils advocate here...but giving them normal kibble most likely won't cause them to be sick adults.

Of course I respect your judgement, and you should always listen to your gut. I say visit them. See how they are doing for yourself and maybe you will feel better.

I hope that whatever happens, the kitties have long happy lives filled with love!

Call them and say - was going to see my nephew and thought I would swing by and see how everyone is adjusting. Best case scenario - you get there and the kitties are happy, maybe not eating the best, but loved; you go home with peace of mind. If you show up and it is not so good this is your opportunity to help guide them and re-iterate that if they think it is too much to handle that the rescue groups policy is that you will gladly take them back.

I agree with Baltimore Jaxs.
If you don't visit, my guess is that it will nag at you.
Go visit as soon as you can. Offer solutions for better food.
I think the best thing is to be 100% honest about your concerns.
Always trust your instincts!

Thinking of you!

I will go see them and report back. Thank you for your help on this one.

And, please I didn't ask them to feed raw. I never demand that, I simply ask to feed canned, grain-free only if raw is too much to ask. Kibble is TERRIBLE for cats and most vets do NOT get much, if any, nutrition training in Vet school. I was told this by my homeopathic Vet who went to Cornell! I have been told by Dr Larry, as well. I have yet to talk to a Vet who advocates raw. They are all fearful of it, but aren't in the trenches, seeing what fantastic results you get from a species appropriate diet. To say it is dangerous is really unfair and biased on fears of salmonella (food poisoning)..but they forget that cats have very acidic digestive systems and it's tough for them to get sick in the first place! Common sense food handling, the same you'd do for your family, will prevent any cat from getting sick.

It is NOT common sense to feed a cat over processed food, that leaves them starving for REAL nutrition they so long to eat. They overeat the dry. their teeth go to hell from the carbs, they get all sorts of disease...but yet it's "ok to feed dry" because the advertising said it's good. It's not good. I need to write up a big article about feeding but if you want to know more, a fantastic source is there you will find lots of case studies and nutrition info from vets who DO study nutrition and you'll be shocked at how important, at least, pulling the grain out of your pet's food is for the well being for the rest of their life.

And...grain-free is totally easy now. Many cat food companies are including grain free or very low grain products that are affordable...just don't get caught up in feeding grain-free DRY. Yes, it's out there, but don't be fooled. Even grain free dry is too over processed. the less processing, the better...

::::stepping off my soapbox::::

P.S. I wouldn't be so passionate about this if I didn't live it myself. I saw my own cats sicken and die and I know now that diet DID have a lot to do with it. I free-fed dry kibble and pretty-picture store brands. I've been there. I don't want anyone else to suffer seeing their cats get sick from feeding junk...dat's it. I'm trying to help...and sure I could maybe not use a baseball bat.

I'm working on that.

When you have a minute (maybe in 2011 - LOL!) can you post a list of affordable grain free or low grain wet foods. Honestly I walk into my local supplier and I am TOTALLY overwhelmed by the choices - I need a starting place! Have tried Wellness and Blue Wildernes and haven't had much luck.

When you have a minute (maybe in 2011 - LOL!) can you post a list of affordable grain free or low grain wet foods. Honestly I walk into my local supplier and I am TOTALLY overwhelmed by the choices - I need a starting place! Have tried Wellness and Blue Wildernes and haven't had much luck.


I think you probably would never forgive yourself if you didnt go see them, then at least you would know how they are living. If the conditons are poor, then you should be able to do something, and at least say something, explain that they are special needs kitties and that there are no hard feelings or ill will on your part if they give them back and they can be placed in rescue and placed with a family more appropriate. If they dont want to give them back and they are not in an abusive situation, what is abuse. Abuse comes in all forms, actual physical and mental abuse and neglect. If they are not being fed properly or in poor conditions, are you able to do something, I know it takes time, but you should be able to help the kitties. If you do nothing, you will live with that for the rest of your life and I don't think you can do that, given how much you care for them and all the kitties you care for. Hugs

You'll feel better when you do. :)

And as for food, I hope that they are getting grain-free canned.
After having one of my cats end up with IBD, I'm very much a fan of grain-free canned, or raw. (One cat gets canned, the other two get raw.)

Let us kow how the two babies are. :)

You create documentation that all future adopters have to sign - that if observed that the adopted cats are NOT in good shape, that you can take them back. It's pretty standard.

We constantly joke that our homestudy to adopt our furry children was WAY more rigorous than the one to adopt our bipedal children! ;)

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