Am I overreacting to my friends' values about future pets?
March 11, 2013 7:43 PM Subscribe
My younger friends are roommates and want to jointly adopt a kitten. When I asked some follow-up questions about who would be the real owner of the cat (since they'll likely not live together for the animal's entire lifespan) it seems that they assume they'll just give the cat up if neither wants to take it to the new home. I am, shall we say, not a fan of this plan. They both think I'm overreacting. They are also not very keen on simply fostering instead of adopting. What to do?
posted by Viola to pets & animals (45 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The friends are both lovely people, but they're fairly young - 21 and 25 years old - and live together in NYC. While I could see them living together amiably for the next few years, I highly doubt they'll be life partners for the next foreseeable 15 years or so of the cat's life. Right now they're seriously considering using a fostering agency that allows foster families to adopt cats quite easily. They are not interested in fostering long term, as they claim to want their own pet.
As a cat owner (and unofficial member of Metafilter's Cat Care Crew that advocates against declawing and adopting baby kittens over adult cats etc etc etc) I naturally started asking them questions about the arrangement with this animal. Who would pay for vet bills? "Both of us!" What if said bill is REALLY expensive? "We both pay!" So who actually owns the cat? "Both of us!" What happens when you guys inevitably move out? "One of us takes the cat!" Do you know how long cats live? "Uh.... 7 years?" Um, no. Often like... 12-20 years. So what if neither of you can take the cat further down the road? "We'll find it a home!"
I am not freaking out, exactly, but I'm definitely uncomfortable with the glib idea that they had no idea how long cats live and that it is perfectly fine to adopt an animal with the plan that they'd just give it away if it gets too inconvenient (especially because adult animals can be hard to re-home). I realize that a lot of people adopt animals with this Plan B in mind, but I don't like it anymore because of that.
1) Am I overreacting? I mean, plenty of people give away their pets, but in my perfect world it would be because of REALLY GOOD reasons like, My New Baby Is Deathly Allergic and not because a 21 year old living in NYC suddenly wants to travel the world at 25 and a cat can't tag along. However, I do not live in my fantasy world so please help me snap out of it if that's the case.
2) If I am not overreacting, what are some good, moderately-worded resources I can send their way to impress upon these two lovely young people that adopting pets is a lifelong commitment and not a fling?
-They're already going down the fostering route, but as someone who did this and wound up with our third cat after swearing up and down I couldn't have any more cats, I know how easy it is to get attached. So while this is definitely the most rational option for them, I don't really trust their ability to remain superhumanly detached from an adorable kitten and not opt to adopt him. Since they're already gungho on owning a cat, I see this happening sooner rather than later.
-No, I am not going to print out this question and simply give it to them. I'd like some articles and other professional resources on this subject.