Tuesday, September 6, 2011


 Update 6pm 9/6/11: Take this with a grain of salt guys. There is an update, and the news is hopeful. I was pretty upset when I wrote this.
Waiting, waiting, on a call from the cat shelter interviewer.  You'll get a call in a few days, I'm told on Saturday.  I call Wednesday. I call Friday. Nope, no one has called, and the volunteer on the phone offers to make an inquiry. Saturday morning, I finish riding, mucking, cleanup, and get to the car to find a voice message from Rachel, the interviewer, telling me she'd call me back. I return her call. She answers, but doesn't sound happy to hear from me.

R: "Oh -- I said I'd call you back. I'm with someone now."

Me: "No problem, I can call later."

R: "No, no, I'll just make time. I didn't call you back because I've been a week without power, and my mom has been in and out of the ER."

Me: "Oh, I'm sorry. Are you sure you can talk now?"

[silence, and the sound of her fumbling with paperwork.]

R: "Okay, I have your paperwork in front of me now."

Me: Anyway, thanks! I've been anxious to get things under way."

R: "Here's the issue -- your husband lets his cat outside." 

Me: "This cat will be inside. Our last cat died of renal failure in the spring, but he never went outside."

[The interviewer begins a practiced soliloquy I learn that being outside is dangerous for cats, but not for the reasons I would expect, like cars and disease. I guess in this area hawks are an issue. Rachel sounds world-weary, and not-at-all encouraging. She is preaching to the choir. How can I let her know?]

Me: "Yes, I've talked to Bob, he's willing to convert our cat to an indoor cat, we put that in the applic--"

Phone goes dead. I wait for her to call, since I'm driving and it's hard to get to her phone number, but she doesn't. Knowing she is with someone, and that her mood is not great, I pick up the phone and dial anyway.

She picks up, and tells me to call back when I have a better connection. I sort of insist we continue talking, because I know in my heart she is not going to be easy to reach. Our call is dropped two more times, and I'm almost home anyway. I call her from our land line, and the phone goes directly to voice mail. I leave a chirpy message restating our interest in adopting, and tell her I'm hope for another two hours. Two days later, she has not called me back.  Now it is Monday, Labor Day, and it's not really fair to expect a call over the Labor Day weekend. I'm lucky she called me Saturday, I guess. Now what to do?

To be continued


  1. Good Grief. I too worked in [horse] and I know how it goes. I know how 'rescue' people can be too and sometimes you need to look beyond and understand how people truly care for their animals to see they'd have a good home.

  2. This is the first mention I've seen that you're looking for a new kitty. There are so many animals needing homes that the woman should be beating down your door trying to place it. Is there something special about this one?

  3. Outrageous, it's got to make you question the professionalism of the rescue.

    I would be positively open-mouthed if I were offering a nice loving home for an animal and denied. So many being euthanized every day and she's telling you her personal problems and worried about a bee sting.

  4. Wow over 90 000 visitors in one month????Wow this is more than impressing. Congrats and please do share some of your secrets...if you wish :).

  5. it might just be me.... but weren't cats originally from outside?? like hunting mice in forests and such?? these people are insane, we lied on our cat adoption form, the cats we got went straight to the barn and never stepped a foot inside and died of old age and arthritisis

  6. I take it back. Calling some shelter workers Barney Fife would be an insult to Barney Fife.

  7. Cliffhanger!!!

    Love your blog, hope that snippy lady doesn't keep you from giving a loving home to a kitty in need.

    Jamie :)

  8. I foster for and am on the board of directors for a Dachshund rescue and I just can't get over how some rescues treat potential adopters. We have a small but loyal group of stay at home moms and retired volunteers that usually have the entire application processed (minus the home visit) either same day or day after. We are a national rescue so sometimes it takes a week or more for us to find someone to do our home visits but our application team is always in contact with the applicant as well as the foster parent of the dog they are interested in. I hate to hear rescues complain about low adoptions and animals that stay in the rescue system for years when they make the process so difficult and also have strict, inflexible rules.

  9. They should screen like this for anyone wanting to have a child (not just for adoption)...Sheeesh! Do they really have that many folks that want to adopt their cats? Some how I doubt it. I would be very frustrated. Bee stings? Really? Bees can get into the house too.

  10. Oh dear. I was hoping you wouldn't run into this sort of thing, but I've heard so many stories. You really do have to wonder if there are some hoarder tendencies in some of these rescuers.

  11. I was owned by two cats for 15 years, both went outside and loved it (we lived on a quiet street with woods in the back). If I had forced my male cat to stay indoors, he would have become very depressed. He loved lounging on the steps and sitting with my neighbor while she gardened.

    Anyway, it sounds like they did not read your application since you were going to keep him inside. Hasn't that cat been at the shelter long enough? Maybe someone does not want to see him go.

  12. I thought of this article when I read your story


    I hope things work out for you!

  13. A very good friend of mine once said, "CATS ARE FREE! Look in the paper!" after his wife had invested over $5,000 in vet bills for a cat. Sage advice, methinks. Funny at the very least...

  14. Go somewhere else. These rescue people are profoundly neurotic. They cannot take care of their own lives, or are disappointed in them. so they go about "judging" other people.

    In my area, NYC. there are dog rescue organizations like this. They can't place their dogs because of nonsense like this. Few people will put up with this sort of judgmental garbage here.

    They are just cutting themselves off from some of the best homes.

    Some of these "rescue organizations" neuter their pups at 2 months. This is terrible for the long term health of the dog, yet they are running around self-importantly patting themselves on the back for "doing the right thing". In reality, they do not care abut the dogs at all--they are just indulging in moral vanity.

    It is absolutely none of their business whether your cat is and "indoor" or an "outdoor" cat. It s your cat.

    This s childish and neurotic nonsense.

    It is also one of the reasons that people just go out to breeders and buy animals instead of rescue them.

  15. When I adopted my dog at the shelter I had to wait forever for people to return my phone calls... They ARE really busy, but I just kept nagging them on a semi-daily basis until my pup was home with me. :)

  16. I worked for years in animal welfare, and still do a bit of consulting. I was, and continue to be, disgusted with animal welfare agencies that do not recognize that for every cat that they don't adopt out, another one, somewhere, dies. Even at a so-called no-kill shelter, if they don't make room, another doesn't get in and meets with a grim fate. There is a reason so many in animal welfare are dubbed animaniacs.

  17. Have you read any of the books Nathan Winograd has written about animal shelters? I don't know that I agree with everything he says, but once you get your cat it will be cathartic.

  18. I get the whole screening thing; that's good. You'd think, though, that the process would move along a bit better considering the outrageous number of unwanted animals sitting in shelters nationwide.
    Maybe she was just a bit "scattered" from everything else she had going on. Here's hoping...

  19. With so many kitties desperately looking for a Forever home, it makes me sad that this is turning into such a difficult process for you. Glad to hear the news is more hopeful though!

  20. Stacey, I'm glad to see an update that things are looking up. And glad to see you're adopting :) It does sound like the woman's had a bad week, but still. Shouldn't be that hard to reach her and, when you do, getting that sort of attitude. You're doing a good thing, for crying out loud!

  21. I totally understand your frustration, Stacey. I, too, am looking for a new kitten after saying good-bye to my beloved Olivia after 19 glorious years together. I went to petfinder.com and found the perfect candidate at a shelter in Massachusetts (I live in Connecticut next to the border line) and called twice, and then faxed my 2 page application per the instructions on the shelter's web site. Its been 2 weeks and I've heard nothing - not even the courtesy of a response. What a shame - makes you feel like the shelters are 'crying wolf' and really don't need any help at all. Meanwhile, I'm still hoping ...

  22. I apologize for the novel - but your post struck a cord....
    WE applied to adopt a dog in 2010 from our local second-chance rescue. The actual application required an interview, current proof of income, last years tax return, vet and personal references, and an application fee.
    The actual adoption would have included a $300 "re-homing" fee and an adoption contract that would make any lawyer proud. We were happy to supply their yearly updates with pictures and note from the vet. Even OK with the rescue withholding the right to take back the dog if they felt at some point our home was no longer suitable.
    OK, fine, The dog was sweet so we figured what the heck - they are just diligent.
    It was only after I paid the $30 application fee that they noticed that we both work full time. A few questions into our interview and they realized that often my animals are alone for long hours a day. Not always - but I work a changing schedule, so does my SO.
    It was deemed by the rescue that we were an unsuitable home because of our schedules. They actually turned my application down!
    We are what i consider to be a great home - I have previous pet experience, glowing references, i am a homeowner (with a fenced yard, another requirement), and I can afford to feed and vaccinate my animals. If they had even bothered with the home visit they would have seen how healthy and happy my current pets are.
    I was beyond INSULTED, not to mention heartbroken that we wouldnt be able to bring the little guy home. I know I will think twice before putting in another application with any sort of private resuce. From now on it is the city shelter or bust.
    I am soo sorry that you are going through this as well - I hope the story has a happy ending.
    I dont know what these "rescues" are thinking. They would rather hang on to an animal for years then give it to a home they deem less than perfect.
    It is no wonder that people go to pet stores and buy a puppy. Often, the purchase price is cheaper then an adoption fee and there is no judgement.

  23. I used to do adoptions for a local animal rescue. There's no excuse for treating potential adopters like that. I agree that cats should never be let outside (for both their own safety and the risk to wildlife) but if your husband is willing to change his ways, they should be happy to place a kitty with you. That's unless there's some other issue she's not mentioning. Don't be discouraged. If I were you I'd find another rescue group, there are so many that would be thrilled to have you apply. Best of luck!

  24. Cats are happier when they get to go outside. They're also generally more fit. Our inside cat always has to be on a diet. I can appreciate there are hazards to being outside, but sheesh, there are hazards to driving and we still do it ...

  25. I wonder if this is why Orange Kitteh has lingered at the shelter for so long? If their standards are impossibly high, it makes sense why such a nice boy like him hasn't found a new home sooner. My fingers are crossed for you.


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