Time for A New Addition, Part 6: Finding Our Furry Friend

Decisions, decisions. For those of you following along, We are contemplating a new addition to our household for 2014: two cats. I gave a short introduction in Part 1, talked about space in Part 2, time in Part 3, money in Part 4, and considerations of type of animal in Part 5.

As most of my questions have been unanswerable, I am quite happy to announce that this week the topic requires no decision on my part! My cat or cats will be adopted from a shelter or rescue organization.

Reputable shelters are absolutely the best option when adopting a pet. Shelters are overrun with cats and dogs all times of the year. They are always looking for loving forever homes for their furry charges. No-kill shelters and rescue organizations in particular struggle with not being able to take on new animals when they are over capacity. Most of these are run by people who just love animals and want the best for them. Cats in Tow is a case in point! They have teamed up with PetSmart in Brea, California so that people looking for a new animal companion have a place to visit the animals ready for adoption. Or check out our page of currently adoptable pets.

Shelters work hard to make sure each adoption is a success. Many have foster programs where animals that are not quite ready to be in their forever homes stay temporarily in safe places. There could be many reasons why an animal isn’t ready: females who have just had kittens or puppies, puppies or kittens that are too young, illness, shyness due to abuse or abandonment issues, just to name a few. Many people think that shelter animals all have behavioral issues, but that is simply not true.

Shelters also work with veterinarians to make sure the animals are healthy. Spaying and neutering is required to keep the abandoned animal numbers from continuing to grow.

Some of the expenses that most shelters cover before adoption: spaying/neutering $150-300, two distemper vaccination $20-30 each, rabies vaccination $15-25, heartworm test $15-35, flea/tick treatment $50-200, microchip $50. Those expenses would need to be covered by you if you got a free pet from a friend, advertisement or other source.

This article dispels some of the myths around adopting from a shelter.

And most important for me, shelters are not focused on profit. They are focused on the health, well-being and positive outcome for the animals. An animal is a living being and deserves better than to be commodity. If you are still unsure of shelters being the best option, please do some research, talk with a veterinarian, look into the problems of animal cruelty and animal overpopulation.

Finally, we have our new love or loves (well, not really, but in blog land!) The end? Not quite, next week we will wrap up the series with some tips for successful adoption and introduction of new family members.

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Two lovelies looking for their forever home. Thanks to Hugh Mobley (Hugh Mobley Photography,http://www.hughmobley.com/) for the photographs.

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Why TNR

Why does Cats in Tow believe that trap, neuter, release programs are the best for feral cats?  We believe that every cat deserves a chance at a happy life.  The best scenario would be for every cat to have a warm, safe home where they were adequately fed, received attention and were kept healthy.  That is not the reality for many, many cats though.
 
Just because these cats don’t have a human address, does that mean they are unwanted or should not be cared for?  Cats in Tow does not think so.  Feral cats are not going to make good pets (except on very rare occasions).  It is best that they are left where they are, which also keeps the population of feral cats stable. 
 
However, they need to be spayed or neutered, for their own health, to reduce the problems associated with mating and to keep them from producing more kittens (an un-spayed female cat can be responsible for over 3200 kittens according to the National Pet Alliance).
 
TNR also gives the people caring for the feral cats a chance to check their health, manage parasites and assess whether it is possible to transfer kittens to a life with humans. 
 
We’ll go into specifics on upcoming blogs about how to get a TNR program started and resources for people who are assisting with a feral cat colony in their community.  If you are curious about the science behind TNR, Alley Cat Allies have a list of scientific studies here).
 
Are you supporting a feral cat colony?  Please send us a message to tell us about your experiences.

First Step

Three to four million.  That was an estimate from 2009-2010 of how many dogs and cats are euthanized in the U.S. Just in the U.S. If you extrapolate that to the world, the numbers are staggering. These are dogs and cats of all ages and breeds. These are dogs and cats that deserve loving homes. But the fact is that there are not enough shelters or loving homes. Shelters are overrun and there will never be enough homes for all of the unwanted pets brought to shelters and rescue organizations.

What can you do? The very first thing is to get your pets spayed and neutered.  This may sound basic, but according to the ASPCA website, only “10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered.” That means we have a long way to go in spaying and neutering our own pets and talking to our friends and families about their pets. In case you need a little more information, we at Cats in Tow has found a few good links on the myths and benefits of spaying and neutering.
 
Let’s get that three to four million down – spay and neuter!
 
Helpful links:
 
 

Spay neuter tabby pix