Brisbane Valley Cat Rescue

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Posted on July 23, 2013 at 4:25 AM

People often ask why I don't lower the adoption fee.  Yes I know that the 2 large rescue organisations often have cats available for $20 and $49.  But I guess I have 2 answers to this.

The first is that I'm not looking for fast turnover. What I'm looking for is the "right" home for each cat and kitten. Placing the right cat or kitten in the right home not only secures the future of the cat itself but enhances the lives of it's adoptive family as well.

My second reason is somewhat more painful and a lesson learned that I cannot and will not ignore.

It was many years ago when a young kitten was brought to the shelter.  He'd been found in the middle of nowhere, alone, hungry and terrified.  How long he'd been on his own no-one knows.  He was gathered up by some good samaritans and brought here.  He was weak, but he was a fighter and after lots of TLC he was ready to have his vet work done.  He loved people and learned to get along with the other cats and dogs.  Having spent so much time with him during his recovery he was my special little boy. To look at him you'd never know he'd had such a battle for survival.

A family arrived to look at another cat.  They spent quite a lot of time mixing with all the little guys and little Teddy followed them everywhere.  Now although Teddy got on well with everyone, it was unusual for him to show that much interest, because normally he'd want to be off playing.  The family adored him and although I hadn't planned on him being adopted at that stage I said yes.  In those days I had a much lower adoption fee but it still depended on the right chemistry between all parties involved.

On a follow up call a few weeks later I was told that Teddy had a sore eye and hadn't been taken to the vet because of lack of finances at that time. The family were bathing the eye daily at home in the interim. They would take him the next week once the next pay was received. I organised for the little guy to go to the vet and said I'd pay for it.  I had an account at the vets so it wouldn't be a problem. A week later I received a call to say that his eye was all recovered.

A couple of weeks after that it had flared up again and I said to take him back to the vet, and to just put it on my account, because he needed treatment asap.  I said for them to give me a call if there were any problems because I'd always take the little guy back if necessary.  Now at this point let me get one thing perfectly clear. The family did love him and were doing their very best for him.  I didn't hear anything for a few days and determined that I'd give them a call just to check on Teddy's progress when I got home from the post office. 

I cleared the PO Box and found an envelope from the vet.  It was my receipt for "Teddy" domestic shorthair "euthanesa and disposal".  I couldn't think, I couldn't drive, all I could do was bawl. Images of my beautiful, spirited boy kept rising in my mind and all I could think was that I had failed him. Even now I can't think of him without crying.  He died not because he wasn't loved but because he went to a family who clearly couldn't afford any extra unexpected costs involved.

I spoke to the vet a few days later and was told that because his eye hadn't received treatment immediately they were given the option of surgery to remove the eye or put him to sleep.  Instead of phoning me they made the decision to put him to sleep rather than involve me with more expense. He was my boy, damn the expense.  He died because he had a sore eye??????????



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Reply Andrea Smith
8:01 PM on July 25, 2013 
I don't think you should have to justify why you have an adoption fee. I'm sure it doesn't cover the costs you have incurred in caring for these animals, and you can't put a price on your time, or the love and attention you show each one, which ensures that they're well adjusted animals before they're homed.

Last week I went to a large chain pet shop to purchase some litter (supermarket had sold out!). Whilst in the queue to pay I looked over to see three very pretty kittens caged behind a glass partition. The Black and White was priced at $325 and the two silver tabbies $350!. I was shocked for a whole host of reasons. I assume the cost varied because of the colouring (which invokes a range of emotions in me), but the fact that they were so expensive anyway appalled me. I can't imagine that this shop does any checks on where these animals end up, they're not vaccinated, no-one would check that after sale they're de-sexed. There is a whole other blog post you could write on this subject i'm sure... but where to start.
Reply Louise
7:38 AM on July 23, 2013 
Thank you Anthea. It took many years for me to be able to write this post. If it helps I'm glad :)
Reply Anthea
6:48 AM on July 23, 2013 
That made me cry is also another reason why apart from all the other dangers free to good home isn't a good way to find the right home for any pet...I'm going to share your post with a group in Montreal who were upset that they had someone shouting at the, at a recent adoption day that the kittens should be cheaper....the right home is what we strive for not just any home! You are an inspiration to so many Lou, keep on doing what you do! xxx