Saturday, July 10, 2010

Time to stop treating apples like oranges.

When I was watching the global news tonight, there was a little piece about the Fredericton SPCA having an adoption drive this weekend in the hopes of getting at least 30 cats adopted.   There is a coupon on their site that adopters can download to bring in and take advantage of the 'donation only' weekend.  ( As a sidebar note, that IS actually standard practice for PET Projects, who request a minimum thirty dollar donation for each adoptable in in their care.)
Regular adoption fees are posted on the Fredericton SPCA Adoption page ... and it was nice to see that their fee for adult cats and dogs is lower than the fee for kittens and puppies.
That's a very clever way to encourage folks to adopt an adult cat.  Here in NS, lower adoption fees for the adults is standard practice for CAPS and The LA Shelter.  At the Yarmouth SPCA, the fee is lower for adult dogs and higher for adult cats .. but in all fairness their kitten fee doesn't include the spay that the adult one does.
Are cat adoption fees a good buy?  You bet!  So why do the cats 'stay on the shelf' ?
Is it because people object to the fee?  The application process?   Or is it that it simply wouldn't occur to most people to investigate pet adoption?
The answer to THAT question is the kind of thing that creeps in to wake me up in the middle of the night.
If the people won't come to the shelter ... perhaps the shelter should come to the people.  Hey .... wait a minute ... that's not a new idea!  For the jackpot ... What Is an Offsite Adoption?
Cats need the extra boost when it comes to adoption.  They are the first pet of choice for first time pet owners because there is always an abundance of 'free to a good homes" and they don't cost that much to feed.  Unfortunately, first time pet owners don't always budget for the spay / neuter that will nip things in the bud.  As a result, on any given day, there are at least at least eight cats for every dog that is listed on Petfinder ... and sadly that only represents the tip of the iceberg and doesn't begin to include those who do not find 'room at the inn'
Cat only adoption events make a lot of sense.  They are quieter, so adopters are more likely to stay to find their new best friend.   At the end of the day, the animals are always their own best 'salesmen'.
Adult cats need the extra boost of lower adoption fees than the kittens.   With a never ending supply of appealing infants, even the"toddlers' and the  'teenagers' wind up getting passed over.  Every group that guarantees adoption for all in their care wind up serving as long term sanctuaries for many of their lovely cats.
Seriously .. I would quickly run out of fingers and toes to tally up the ones who have literally grown up and spent their whole lives in care with different groups around the province.
Each and every one sitting safely in care represents dozens of others who meet a wide variety of Unhappy Tails when love doesn't last forever. Reduced adoption fees, simplified application processes and off site adoptions may seem like heresy and horrify the frontline rescue folks .... but each and every one of them are frustrated with the status quo.
What time is it?  Its time to understand the truth of the old saw .. the only to get different results is to do things differently. 

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