Rehoming a Feline – Pay a Fee, or Adopt it for Free?
They’re cute, they’re fluffy, they’re adorable, they’re free? I want one now. An over-abundance of kittens at the Wellington and Kapiti SPCAs prompted a sale held last weekend. Free kittens on the Friday, 75% off the adoption fee on the Saturday, and 50% off on the Sunday. And it went down a treat. Over one hundred kittens were handed over to new owners, lucky felines ready to start their new shelter-free life. But was this the right thing to do?
After this story was relayed on the Internet, I read a number of different comments, the most common being that if you can’t afford to buy a pet, you can’t afford to look after it. Hence the high adoption fee. The trouble with this point-of-view is that it implies that if someone doesn’t have much spare cash, they will not care for an animal. Which is not true. There is no correlation that I can see.
Having worked at the SPCA in the past, I met people who came back week after week to look at the same animal, hoping it hadn’t been adopted, and telling me that they’d saved a bit more to pay the (rather large) fee for adoption. I also met people who’d drive up in their flash cars, come into the shelter dressed in designer clothes, carrying a box of under-nourished puppies or kittens, and ‘dump’ them on the SPCA. It is ridiculous to imply that only the well-off will look after animals.
I also remember a time when a woman and her daughter spent a couple of hours at the SPCA shelter one morning, carefully choosing the cat they liked best, spending time with it to make sure it was the right cat for them, even thinking up names for it. But when they made their final decision and I told them the cost of adoption, the woman sadly declared that she couldn’t afford it and asked if she could pay a bit each week. I tried to get the shelter manager to break the rule about not accepting part payments, but he wouldn’t give in. I could see that she would really look after that cat, and thought it a wasted opportunity to give a cat a good home.
So what prompted the SPCA to host the ‘Kitten Sale’ and waive the normal adoption fee (NZD$225). Peter McCullum, manager of the Kapiti SPCA explained, ‘It’s really a desperate way of getting some of the kittens out of an overcrowded situation.’ Desperate? I can only see it as a good thing.
Me, I deliberately didn’t go to the kitten sale. I have four cats already, and the temptation of a cute kitten wins me over every time. The only way I wasn’t going to adopt another moggy was to not go to the sale in the first place. But maybe when they have the next sale …
This blog item was not an excuse to post pics of cute kittens … I need no excuse for that.