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Finding Homes for Kittens

607 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  kaylee18
Since meemee and possibly DB will be faced with finding homes for kittens soon, I wanted to go over the 'pitfalls' of doing so, from the standpoint of a rescuer.

What typically happens with kittens is that they are given away. Kittens are in great demand, and get adopted very quickly.

Which wouldn't be a problem, except that they often don't stay adopted. Once they grow up, they aren't cute anymore; some get sent outside or dumped outright, and commonly end up at animal shelters - where adult cats hardly ever get adopted, since there are so many cute kittens available for free. Also, often, before the animals go to the shelter, they have kittens of their own, which are also given away.

Even if the adoptive owner fixes and keeps an adopted kitten, too often it reproduces before it is fixed ("We thought she was too young to get pregnant!"
). And the kittens are given away - unfixed - to repeat the cycle.

So what is a responsible, life-loving rescuer to do? Several things, but this one is most important: Make sure they all get fixed before they go to new homes. This is crucial to being a responsible rescuer.

It can also present a challenge, because most vets won't fix kittens till they're 4 months old (older than easily adoptable size). This is purely for the convenience of the vet; larger animals can be kept under anesthesia longer, and their parts are easier for less skilled vets to manipulate. Studies have established that both from a lifetime health-risk standpoint and from a physical recovery standpoint, the best time for a kitten to be fixed is 8 to 12 weeks of age. Rescue groups, for this reason, train and contract with vets to provide the service of pre-emptive spay/neuter.

For you the private rescuer, the same can be accomplished using any one of several possible approaches:

- Locate a no-kill rescue group near you (now, while there are still a few weeks to be on a waiting list) and ask the group to take the kittens into its program while you continue to foster them, in order to ensure that they are spayed or neutered and go to lifelong homes. If you are able to care for them until the group can place them, and are willing to let the group make the ultimate decisions regarding placement, this can be a low-cost and very effective solution.

- Locate a vet who will perform low-cost pediatric spay/neuter for you. The $55 or so that the vet may charge per kitten can be recouped by charging an adoption fee for the already-fixed kittens. You can get suggestions of which vets are likely to provide this service for you by contacting your local rescue organizations. Most vets who do this will not do it for "pets" (since they want the owner to bring the kitten for a checkup and initial vaccines, then come back for another visit in a couple months for more cadillac payments *ahem* services), but they will do it for "feral kittens" or "rescue kittens."

- Ask at your local shelter whether they have a 100% spay/neuter-before-adoption policy, and if they do, consider giving the kittens to them to adopt out. Shelters tend to have a very high rate of adoption for very small kittens, and depending on the shelter's policies, you may be able to prevent the small-but-real possibility of euthanasia for any of the little darlings (either by getting their intake numbers and calling/dropping by often to check their status, or by having the shelter call you if a kitten is not placed in a home). Remember that fixing the kittens prior to placement will prevent many euthanasias.

Another thing you can do (in addition to, not instead of, pre-emptive spay/neuter) is to write up a contract for the adoptor. Make 2 copies so the adoptor can keep one. On your copy, provide spaces for the adopter's name, address, and (most important) phone number, so you can call to make sure the kitten is a good match for the new home. Our contract provided for the rental
of the cat for a term of 21 years, revocable by us at any time but *only* for breach of contract. If you transfer ownership, you will not be able to prevent declaw surgery or other legal abuse of the cat later on. 'Adoption' w/r/t animals is legally viewed as a sale, and you cannot legally enforce a contract unless you don't sell the cat. Using an enforcable contract goes above and beyond your responsibilities as a foster, but it does give you good karma.
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WOW mama you have put alot od time into this. i love to see this from pet moms and dads
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