adopters, cats, foster cats, fostering, kittens, Spay and Neuter

Gotcha Day is VERY Different with Cats

Cat adoptions aren’t nearly as exciting as dog adoptions.

Don’t get me wrong – it still feels great to save a cat, it’s just….different.

Cats don’t bound up to their potential adopter (or growl at them either). There’s no carefully orchestrated meeting or a walk with a potential fur-sibling or even a question, really, about the outcome.

Blue’s adopter came to meet her, and Blue spent the entire time wooing me and ignoring her. Thankfully, her potential mom was undeterred and completely cool with purposeful cat apathy.

She really wanted to take a picture for Blue’s potential dad, but Blue was having none of it –she wouldn’t even look in her direction. Instead, she meticulously bathed and ignored my snapping fingers and calls, “Kitty, kitty, kitty! Look right here!”

I think her mom knew she was going to take her home before she’d even met her based on her rescue story and her gorgeous blue points. (I’ve learned that Blue is a blue-point Siamese.)

It was a few more days before she could go home, though, because Blue needed to have her veterinary work done. During that time, she crashed multiple zoom calls and live recorded events. If you saw the first episode of The Dog 10, you definitely experienced Blue’s persistence.

Blue is a demanding girl. She wants all of your attention all of the time. This has not been my experience with cats in the past. I don’t know if it is a Siamese thing or if Blue is uniquely dog-like.

She stayed in my office during her time with us, and each day after cruising my desk, smacking my typing fingers, side-swipping my face as she passed by and periodically climbing up on my shoulders, she would settle down and nap nearby. Never for long, though because if I took a phone call or a zoom meeting, she assumed the sound of my voice meant I was talking to her and talked right back. If I didn’t look her way, she jumped up on my desk and yelled in my face and paced around my desk, responding to every word I said with lengthy lectures that increased in volume the more I ignored her. For one phone call, I had to cram her into a cat carrier and lock her in the bathroom with a fan on so she wouldn’t hear me and talk back.

It was a relief to drive her to meet a veterinary transport early last Monday at the crack of dawn. I lined up with all the other ‘cat people’ and handed Blue off to be loaded up and hauled to Harrisonburg to be spayed, vaccinated, and microchipped.

And here, I have to pause and say that it wasn’t cheap. Rescue pricing, at least in this part of VA, isn’t a whole lot cheaper than regular veterinary pricing. Which partially explains why there are SO MANY CATS.

First off, it’s very hard to get an appointment—we only got this one because another cat the rescue had scheduled to go turned out to be already spayed, so Blue was a last-minute swap-in. The shortage of veterinary service is partly due to the backlog caused by the pandemic and partly because of the swarm of new clients thanks to the pandemic, but also because there simply aren’t enough vets.

But, as I mentioned, even if you can get an appointment to have your cat spayed, it isn’t cheap. It was $222 to have Blue spayed, given current vaccination and rabies, and microchipped and that is RESCUE PRICING. You’d pay a lot more if you wanted to have your privately owned cat fixed, so I’m guessing the sticker-shock deters many would-be cat owners who want to do the right thing.

For comparison, when I took two strays to be spayed, vaccinated, and given rabies in Pennsylvania, it was $55. I’m ready to take bets that PA will tackle their cat overpopulation problem long before Virginia will.

I met the vet transport at the crack of dawn at a park the next morning to pick up Blue (maybe her hotel accommodations were part of the expense?). Her new mom picked her up later that afternoon, pleased as punch. Her new name is Maze and all reports are she’s doing great and already completely adored.

Cleo, a much less demanding cat than Blue, also went home this past week with an overly excited new young mom who plans to spoil her rotten. Cleo is a love, despite the fact that she hasn’t had an easy start to life, so I’m thrilled that she lucked into such a wonderful home.

Her new adopter listed all the treats and fancy food and additives and toys she already had ready to go and gushed over Cleo, who initially kept her distance, as is her habit with new people. She warms up quickly, though, once she discovers you are a positive human and not a negative one.

I chatted with her new mom for a few minutes while Cleo charmed her (not that it was necessary, as her adopter was ‘all-in’ from the start). Then we loaded her up in a cat carrier, connected on Facebook so I could see how she settled into her new life, and off they went.

Unlike dog adoptions, there were no adopter pictures, just a quick shove-into-the-carrier-before-cat-can-react, and then off they went. Here are a few photos of Maze and Cleo (she’s keeping the name) in their adopted homes:

When Bonnie and Clyde finally go (still no takers), I will try harder to get an adoption picture.

Until Each One Has a Home,

Cara

For information on me, my writing, and books, visit CaraWrites.com.

If you’d like regular updates of all our foster dogs past and present, plus occasional dog care/training tips, and now foster cat updates (!) be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.

And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit WhoWillLetTheDogsOut.org and subscribe to our blog where we share stories of our travels to shelters, rescues, and dog pounds. You can also keep up with all that is happening with Amber’s Halfway Home, our short documentary film about rescue in the dog pounds of Tennessee.

If you can’t get enough foster dog stories, check out my book: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. It’s available anywhere books are sold.

I love to hear from readers and dog-hearted people! Email me at carasueachterberg@gmail.com.

7 thoughts on “Gotcha Day is VERY Different with Cats”

  1. Siamese can be very attention seeking and as Tails noted, very chatty. Very cute pictures of your kittens! You’re right about the s/n pricing being a deterrent! In my urban area, there are several programs that offer free or low-cost ($50) s/n, especially for cats. I hope some of the bigger VA rescues start lobbying for state money.
    Cats can be clicker trained! It’s more labor intensive than dogs, but useful when you have a needy or super active cat. Here’s a basic article https://www.adventurecats.org/backcountry-basics/how-to-clicker-train-a-cat/.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet Blue/Maze could be trained. She seemed very smart and eager to interact. VA has GOT to do something about spay/neuter access and cost. Once I feel like I understand the lay of the land, I will definitely start asking more questions.

      Like

  2. I imagine it is very different to adopt a cat rather than a dog! And the sad news is that there are just as many cats in need of homes as dogs, if not more. I am so encouraged by your using your resources to foster/rescue/adopt both dogs and cats. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The cat problem is just so enormous, but the solution is much the same – new cultural norms, better access to spay/neuter, and affordable vet care. TNR programs can make a huge difference. I’m curious about them and may have to investigate.

      Liked by 1 person

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