A kitten frustration

| 14 Comments

A week ago, we had adopters lined up for all of the kittens.

This afternoon, the last of those adopters backed out, for various reasons (and some without reasons). We are now back to square one, with four nearly eight-week old kittens and nary an adopter in sight.

I have a post up at Craigslist about them, as well as on Petfinder. I've gotten quite a few initial emails, but so far nobody is willing to pay an (IMO small) adoption fee or sign a contract guaranteeing they kitten won't be declawed, will be spayed/neutered, and will be indoor. Those are all non-negotiable for us. We would rather turn them over to the Humane Society than adopt them to homes that can't or won't agree to those stipulations.

So...here we are. They aren't hurting anything and are fun to have around, so it's not that big a deal if we need to keep them for a week or three more, but I'm still frustrated with the adopters all bailing at the last minute. And concerned...are we doing something to alienate them?

To make me feel better, I took some pictures of Feliz and Noel.

feliz and noel.jpg

feliz and noel 2.jpg

noel attacking camera string.jpg

14 Comments

I think it's fairly likely that your terms for adoption would be "alienating" to some potential adopters, but if they're non-negotiable terms, then you can't worry about that.

The kitties are so adorable.

Hi, long-time lurker here!

Your contract doesn't sound unreasonable at all, but maybe people are wary of leaving a cat with claws indoors all day, the combination of the two? I hope you find all of them homes soon!

And Noel's eyes are gorgeous-- so blue!

While your terms are totally reasonable, I think I'd have a hard time with an individual putting stipulations on my pet ownership. It's not the same as when going to an organization and adopting from them. It makes me get my defences up, even though I'd never declaw or let my cat out unattended (we leash trained ours), and I believe strongly in spaying and neutering.

I guess I just don't believe strongly in being told to do so by someone else.

They are stunningly cute.

I am right there with you on the declawing but I can't do the indoor thing. It feels too much like prison. My cats loved the outside world too much and I'm glad they got to experience it. I know most of my shelter volunteer friends were on the "indoor only" bandwagon, too, but I spent 6 weeks indoor only when I was hospitalized, and I could not do that to another being.

Hmm...maybe I should be more clear. These people who have bailed? They all knew about these stipulations to begin with. So unless they thought about them and then decided they couldn't/wouldn't comply, it can't be these things that have caused them to bail.

That being said, I have been treating these adoption of these kittens just the same way I'd treat dog adoption via rescue. I don't see what difference it makes if I'm an individual or a rescuer. I mean, breeders regularly have the people who BUY pets from them sign similar contracts. It is (IMO) part of responsible change in guardianship.

As for the indoor/outdoor debate, I'm not going to touch it. I know I won't convince anyone, nor will by mind be changed, so best not to stir the wasp's nest. :)

Can I ask what you think you'll accomplish with a contract? Are you going to follow up to ensure the terms are met? Would you take legal action if they are not? Or is this just to prove a point? I'm a little befuddled by that.

I'm all for screening and ensuring that adopters have the same pet-family values, but I'm not sure of the how/why with a contract.

Basically, the point of the contract is to have people make a commitment to treating the pet in the ways we've laid out. Again, it's really standard practice--I've never heard of a shelter or rescue that didn't use a contract, besides the city pound. Even if it doesn't end up being legally enforceable, it at least gets people to promise to do certain things, and is a way to gauge their commitment (are they willing to make those promises?).

I've never heard the indoor/outdoor debate. Am curious. But too lazy to think of what it might be.

Grace - thank you for answering all my nosey questions.

I wouldn't sign a contract with an individual from whom I was adopting an animal. Organizations, if they're reputable like the ASPCA, have some constraints on them that make "crazy person stalking me and bringing a lawsuit b/c they can't give up their animals" a lot less likely.

And, you're not an adoption agency. You're a person with cats. People can get cats from the ASPCA with fewer limitations. Why would they sign a contract with you? They don't know you from Adam, why would they sign a contract that would keep you in their life for the life of the cat?

Why don't you hook up with an actual adoption organization? Keep the kittens at your house as fosters but put them up for adoption through the ASPCA or a private agency and let them handle the paperwork? That might get you, and potential adopters, everything you want and provide the reassurance of an arm's length transaction.

We tried that, Char. The ASPCA will take them, but they won't allow us to foster them--they only allow us to pay them a per-kitten fee and give them to them, to be kept in their facility until they are adopted. This doesn't seem to be in their best interests, as compared to being fostered in a home with their mother. Private agencies have been unresponsive. So we listed them through the agency with whom we foster dogs, and they require us to use an application, require an adoption fee, and get a contract.

Also, re: breeders, they run businesses. So, again, assurance that you're not dealing with random over-involved and crazy pet lovers.

Keep this in mind: it takes very expensive litigation to determine that a contract is, in fact, not enforceable. It's very risky to enter into contracts with unknown quantities, which is what you are.

I applaud your desire to find good and loving homes for these kittens. I think that you're more likely to be able to do that through a reputable third party handling the adoption details.

"So we listed them through the agency with whom we foster dogs, and they require us to use an application, require an adoption fee, and get a contract."

So, why am I under the impression that the contract is with you and not the agency? Am I incorrect?

I still think a contract with YOU is an imposition to most people. With an agency, I don't have any idea. Maybe you could just chat folks up and get an idea about them and not ask them to sign a contract. Why have people sign a contract you wouldn't, and think you couldn't, enforce anyway?

your second attempt at a collaged table top looks fabulous.

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