Every cat lover at some time or another finds himself in the position of having to find a home for a cat or kitten. Let’s face it…we are “marked”. Those little orphans know where we live and as iron is attracted to a magnet, they find us. Our soft hearts won’t allow us to ignore them, so what do we do? If you have been a cat lover for awhile, you probably already have your quota of furry family members. “A good home” is what we want for the little one, but how do we find one?
First of all, get the word out. If the cat is a stray, your first responsibility is to try to find the owner. Flyers passed out to neighbors, ads in the newspaper, and “word-of-mouth” may serve to alert the owners to the whereabouts of their lost pet. While some description of the characteristics of the cat will be necessary for advertising purposes, leave some of the identifying features of the cat for the caller to supply. For example, the owner of the cat should know that Kitty has four, not two, white socks, a black dot on his nose, a striped tail. It’s important to keep the cat from the hands of those who just want a “free” pet. They may not have the best intentions for the animal and they may be very good actors, so beware! If you have determined that the original home cannot be found, then it is time to look for a new permanent home for Kitty.
If friends and family are already supplied with cats, a little advertising may be necessary. Remember, never mention free in the ad–it is always advisable to request some reasonable fee. The next step is the telephone screening. Don’t skip this very important procedure, as it is much easier to tell a prospective adopter that you do not feel that the cat would do well in his home, over the phone, than it is to say this to his face while he is sitting in your livingroom. (You can word your feelings more delicately, like “I just don’t think this is the right cat for you”).
Here are some good questions to ask to help you determine the type of home the caller would provide for the cat:
Be friendly and informative with potential adopters, but be persistent. Ask to see a driver’s license. Check references, including the person’s veterinarian. You may decide to use a written adoption contract similar to the ones used by humane societies. If so, be sure to give one copy with your name and telephone number on it to the adopter to take home and keep a signed copy for your files.
You’ll know that it’s all worth the effort when you see the little orphan go home with his happy, caring family. Now don’t forget the final, and very important step of calling to check with the family a few days later, and again in a few weeks, to see how Kitty is adjusting. By all means tell the new adopter you will take the cat/kitten back if things aren’t working out.
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