Friday, July 22, 2005
Dear Old Cats
Here at the Oakland Adoption center we have a limited number of owner surrender appointments for people needing to give up their cat. These are some of the hardest conversations to have here at the shelter.
This time of the year all of the public shelters in our county are bursting at the seams with adult cats and kittens. These felines are more at-risk then one in a home, so we transfer them first as often as we have foster or adoption space for them.
From May through October there is no end to the need.
In the midst of this we get calls from folks who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to keep their own cat. Their singular hope is to place their cat in a program like ours where it can be housed and cared for until adopted. It is our job to have a conversation with these folks to determine if an appointment to evaluate the cat for surrender is appropriate, and to remind them, especially this time of the year, that it is likely the cat will need to go onto our waiting list even if it passes our behaviorial and medical evaluation.
I met with someone yesterday who has custody of her deceased father's two cats. They are an 8 year old brother and sister pair, Gina and Gino. The owner feels they really need a home together. Nice enough cats, the male was a little frightened. The best I could offer them was a spot on the waiting list. They have 3 strikes against them this time of the year...they are adult cats (harder to place during the kitten season), they need to go together, and they are seniors. The owner and I discussed options for trying to house the pair at their home in a way that would not stress their own cat. After placing them on the waitlist I said goodbye to these folks.
The waitlist doesn't have a lot of animals on it. Most people cannot hold onto animals they have decided to give up and we usually recommend that their local animal control agency is their next option. Well, I already have had a pair of seniors who need to go together on the waitlist since May. There is also another senior from earlier this month waiting to come in.
Gino and Gina get entered onto the list, and I say a silent little prayer that maybe someone this weekend will come in and want a pair of older cats, who have provided a life of love and have more to give.
There are many wonderful, giving years left in older felines. Our Silver Muzzle Club members can attest to this.