So I’m very close to adopting a cat. I spent the last week looking at cats available for adoption, trying to find the right cat. Last night I decided that I saw the right cat at the Bay Area SPCA (San Leon, TX) on Monday. Her name was Dixie, an adult Manx with the front paws declawed. What was cool about this cat was that she arched her back up to meet my hand when I petted her. She was probably the most affectionate cat I saw. I told the manager of the shelter I was interested in adopting Dixie. She told me that I’d have to pay the adoption fee if I wanted to fill out an application. “I’ll only hold the cat for adoption if you pay the fee.” Since I wasn’t ready to commit any money on any one cat I said okay and walked away.
The last thing she said to me on that day will haunt me for a while, and it will perhaps be the $85 dollars I wish I had spent.
After visiting another shelter and talking to my parents we agreed that Dixie was the right cat for me. My mom could hear the smile in my voice when I talked about the cat, but the smile could have also come from me looking at pictures of the O RLY owl (http://www.orlyowl.com/) at the same time I was talking to her. My dad encouraged me to stop waiting and make a decision now.
Regardless of the source of my smile I really liked the cat. So today I called the shelter saying I would like to adopt the cat. The volunteer put me on “hold” while she asked her supervisor about the cat. This was the conversation I overheard:
“What’s the status with Dixie?”
“She’s been put down.”
“So what do I tell him?”
“Tell him she’s been adopted.”
To me: “Dixie has been adopted. Would you like to come down and see another cat?”
Me: “No, Dixie was the only cat I was really interested in.”
We exchanged thank you’s and good bye’s and I hung up.
I was PISSED! It wasn’t the fact that they euthanized a cat, or euthanized a cat I wanted. It was that they euthanized a cat I wanted only days after I saw it and expressed interest in the cat and then LIED to me about it. When I signed in as a visitor I gave them my phone number, so they did have a means to contact me before they put the cat down.
On Thursday I went to the Galveston County (TX) Animal Shelter based on a recommendation from my chiropractor. She told me that they did euthanize their animals so I walked in the shelter with a knot in my stomach. The fact that they had a very attractive female animal control officer with a sweet pair of combat-style boots only did a little to ease off the edge there. (I have a thing for women in boots…)
When I walked into the room where they kept the cats I felt like I was walking into that infamous Holocaust photo of a bunk filled with starved Jewish men. There are dead men walking here. All the cats were making hideous cries. Some of their water dishes were empty. It was probably dinner time, and that’s why they were crying, but a water dish should *never* be empty if there is a human around to fill it. It was probably on the border of what would be considered humane.
I was also irritated by how little they knew about their cats. I was specifically looking for an adult (2 years and older) shorthair cat, moderately playful that would sit next to you but not necessary in your lap. I wanted a cat that wanted to be petted. I wanted a cat that either was only going to scratch a scathing post or declawed. The cards they had describing the cats were incomplete. They couldn’t tell me the age, whether they had been vaccinated or declawed, or even if they were housebroken! I asked for help and two volunteers suggested some cats but couldn’t tell me more that what was on the card.
Sorry for this long rant. This is the first time I adopted an animal so there was a bit of a shock to realize how these shelters are on the inside. I understand why they have to limit the time an animal can be adopted before it is euthanized or know so little about the cats. They rescue random cats off the street and then have to make room for them, and if there’s “no room in the inn” one of the “tenants” has to die. For every person born in America each day seven cats and dogs are born, and since not every person in America has seven cats and dogs we have a serious pet overpopulation problem.
I’ve decided that whenever I adopt a cat or a dog it will either be an animal from a rescue organization or from a responsible breeder registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) or the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). From now on if I adopt a cat or dog from a rescue organization I’ll adopt from a No-Kill rescue program where the pets have “foster families” that can actually tell me useful information about the pet. This will also give me the assurance that if I want to take a week to decide on a pet it will still be there or actually adopted by another loving home.
Since there are a lot of cat and dog lovers on this forum I’m sure my experience and frustration is not unique. However, tomorrow is a new day and there is still a cat out there I can open my home to.