New Homes for 2 Cats
December 6, 2004 8:12 AM   Subscribe

If you had two cats that you couldn't keep anymore, and your friends and relations all politely refused to take them, what would you do next? They're perfectly nice cats, but we are moving and they can't come with us for reasons that are too involved to go into.
posted by vraxoin to Pets & Animals (45 answers total)
 
Your vet may be able to help place them in a loving home, but not all vets do that kind of thing. Little more personal and er, well vetted than a shelter.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:19 AM on December 6, 2004


Call one of your local pet rescue organizations; they'll take your cats until they can adopt them out.
posted by stefanie at 8:19 AM on December 6, 2004


Ideally, you want to take them to a rescue organization that uses foster homes. Otherwise, a no-kill shelter with good kenneling practices. Alas, both of these types of organizations fill up fast. Be prepared to leave a donation with the cats, as well.
posted by Sangre Azul at 8:26 AM on December 6, 2004


Put an ad on Craig's List for "free to a nice family" or whatever. It's free and will probably take care of it.
posted by knave at 8:27 AM on December 6, 2004


Take the to a rescue/shelter/vet. Please don't do the "free to good home thing".
posted by dobbs at 8:48 AM on December 6, 2004


dobbs: Why not? Not being rude, just want to know what makes it a bad idea. Imposing on already crowded shelters seemed like a bad idea to me.
posted by knave at 8:56 AM on December 6, 2004


I'll answer for dobbs: "Free to a good home" ad respondents are often collecting animals for sale to animal testing facilities. [Google]

If you're going to go the "free to a good home" route, make sure the good home is actually good. Ask for references and talk to their vet. Or risk being haunted by thoughts of your feline buddies' horrific and painful death.
posted by maniactown at 9:09 AM on December 6, 2004


I'll answer for dobbs: "Free to a good home" ad respondents are often collecting animals for sale to animal testing facilities. [Google]

If you're going to go the "free to a good home" route, make sure the good home is actually good. Ask for references and talk to their vet. Or risk being haunted by thoughts of your feline buddies' horrific and painful death.


Yep. We actually got our kittens through a "free to a good home ad", and the dilligence they did on us was minimal, particularly compared to what a good shelter would do.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:12 AM on December 6, 2004


On the "free to a good home" side: You might consider "selling" them instead of giving them away. Not for much, but for enough to make it not worth the while of someone who doesn't want to just adopt a couple of good pets. Make it clear in the ad that the money is going to go straight to the local humane society/SPCA/whatever (and do exactly that).

Since the cats are going to cost the new owners hundreds or thousands of dollars per year in food, litter and vet bills anyhow, paying $25-50 (say, half of what the local SPCA charges for adoptions, which is around CAD 100 here) shouldn't be much of a barrier, but it'll be enough to discourage the lab collectors.

A bit of diligence will still be necessary, of course.
posted by mendel at 9:22 AM on December 6, 2004


"Free to a good home" : I took care of a cat that was posted as such in a similar situation. The girl who posted the cat got calls from at least a few "collectors" who keep the animals for themselves, rather than labs.

If you decide this is the path, be willing to invest the time in meeting the people and seeing where your pets will live. It can work out.
posted by whatzit at 9:38 AM on December 6, 2004


vraxoin - You've got 85 Metafilter Users near you -- why not ask a few of them if they'd be interested.

Thanks dobbs and maniactown -- I never knew that before. That practice seems absolutely deplorable to me. "GOOD HOME" not "SLICED AND DICED." What the fuck is wrong with people these days?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:43 AM on December 6, 2004


try posting at www.petfinder.com. My roommate found her (adult) cat this way, and I know other people that have "shopped" there before for adult animals to adopt. You potenially could reach a much bigger audience than signs, newspaper ads, people who visit a particular shelter, etc.

If all else fails, see if there is a local cat rescue organization in your town.
posted by availablelight at 9:43 AM on December 6, 2004


I'm curious as to why they can't come with.
posted by agregoli at 10:03 AM on December 6, 2004


How about Austin craigslist? with the proviso that you check out the recipients, as mentioned by others...
posted by jasper411 at 10:32 AM on December 6, 2004


>What the fuck is wrong with people these days?

The same is true for pet owners. Especially cats which are seen as disposable. u.n. owen's post mostly addresses this, but as someone who grew up with a dog, its almost sickening to see how people think of their cats as these disposable little affectionate things. If a dog gets loose its a crisis, if a cat gets loose and never comes back people say stuff like, "She went free," and dont seem to care much about it. The most unstable roommates always have cats, sometimes very neglected cats.

The problem isn't "evil craigslist people" its half-assed pet owners who dont give a shit. Either decide to take care of this animal as well as you can, or don't get pet ownership game. I swear, people spend more time thinking about what tattoo to get on their ass than if they should be pet owners or not. A cat and a dog can live for 15+ years. This little fact doesn't seem to deter too many people.

Maybe its a symptom of the 20-something city dweller crowd, but I see it all too often.
posted by skallas at 11:54 AM on December 6, 2004


Regardless of what any of us think of this, vraxoin is probably going to follow through with his/her plans.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:02 PM on December 6, 2004


Which is why I would like to ask respectfully what the reasons are? It might help in the advice-giving in how to deal with the problem.
posted by agregoli at 12:22 PM on December 6, 2004


As a cat owner (well a cat feeder and petter), I see skallas and u.n. owen's points... on a trying-to-solve-your-problem note, perhaps you could re-offer the cats to trustworthy friends and relatives, but offer to pay for the cats' food and veterinary bills for life?

Or, depending on your reasons, look for a short-term home for them while you figure out a way to keep them (i.e. find someone to take them for six months, expenses paid, while you find a cat-friendly apartment in your new city or until you have time to make a cross-country drive).

Really, knowing your reasons would be helpful...
posted by handful of rain at 12:31 PM on December 6, 2004


The fact that you say the reasons are "too involved to go into" makes me think that they're probably not very good reasons and you know it.

Or maybe it's that I don't want to share the intimate and painful details of my personal life with thousands of virtual strangers.
posted by vraxoin at 12:50 PM on December 6, 2004


I see no "personal life" cause short of an owner's death, sudden development of allergies (it happens, I've seen it), or something right-along-those-lines to cause someone to even rationally think about this.

Anything else, and it's just poor planning and abandonment.

Obviously you're going to go through with it. Here are some links to no-kill shelters. They'll need it: while kittens are fairly adoptable, adult cats are not. Very few adult cats in high-kill shelters ever make it out again. Some are put down as soon as they come in, if they're an unadoptable color (people don't like black cats) or aren't cute enough or have even minor health problems.

Please do not get a cat again until you have the maturity and stability to handle one. In the meantime, I suggest you call the people at the following places:

http://www.thunderingpaws.org/

http://www.makeyourpetastar.com/g.html

The link above to austin rescue organizations has more recommendations.

If the local no-kills have no room, I do have a suggestion. It's sneaky, it's underhanded, and it's awful but it'll save their lives if that's important to you.

Find out about the no-kill shelters' visiting hours/locations. Put your cats into a cat carrier and leave them there with water, food, and a note saying that you are abandoning them and hope that the rescue can be kind enough to give them a home - do NOT leave contact info. A lot of places won't accept owner surrenders but will accept abandoned animals - a practice I think is bad and encourages abandonment, but what can one do? Anyway, if those are the rules they play by, do that. You'll be out the cost of a pet carrier, but that really should be the least of your worries.
posted by u.n. owen at 1:12 PM on December 6, 2004


See, I have a similar situation with my cat, but I want to find him a nice farm to live on. Problem is, I live in the city and don't know any farmers?

I have a cat who is the sweetest guy in the world but he goes to the bathroom on EVERYTHING!! Last week I was doing laundry, I pulled a load of clothes out of the dryer turned to put the wet clothes from the washer in...meantime he jumped up onto the dryer and decided to take a piss. I can't handle it!! It makes me crazy, but I know that no one would take a cat like that and I would hate to see him lose his life over the situation.

I've resorted to putting him outside in a heated bed with a little cat house. Trouble is, I live in the arctic. He's going to have to come in when we hit 30 below outside....I feel I just can't win.
posted by Gooney at 1:51 PM on December 6, 2004


u.n.owen, altho I in general agree with your sentiments, please remember that life can throw one unbelievable curveballs, and not everything in life is predictable. At least this person is trying to do the right thing by the cats, and not abandoning them by the side of the road. I personally got stuck once nursemaiding three young baby kittens abandoned IN A BAG IN A DUMPSTER once so I save my vitriol for people who would throw away live cats.

For all we know there could be a divorce or a death or etc so why dont we keep our judgements to ourself on this one?
posted by konolia at 2:12 PM on December 6, 2004


While I agree in principle that acquiring a pet should be a lifetime commitment, there are many conceivable circumstances that might make it impossible to fulfill. Death/allergies/baby are not the only possibilities; just one circumstance that I can think of would be a member of the Nation Guard being called to active duty unexpectedly, but there are plenty of others.

It's like divorce. Why take on a lifetime commitment to another person if you are willing to renege on the bargain? If you agree that under some circumstances it is permitted to divorce your spouse, why is "divorcing" your pet necessarily less acceptable?

I think it makes more sense to offer advice that will minimize the impact on the pet than to accuse the questioner of being inconstant.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 2:21 PM on December 6, 2004


Gooney--Have you taken your cat to a vet? He could be very ill with a bladder infection, stones, etc. Peeing outside of the cat box is a number one sign that something is wrong with him. Is your cat fixed? If not, this could also be the problem. Please take him to a vet. This isn't normal behavior.

u.n.owen, I'd also add to konlolia's comment that women(or men) in domestic violence situations also face difficult issues concerning the safety of their animals. Shelters don't take people's pets and don't always have a system set up to house them at a Humane Soc. or the like. In fact, a study done at a women's shelter, showed that many women delayed leaving their abuser in part because they feared for their animal's wellbeing. However, I do think that having pets should mean caring for them for their lifetime.
posted by lobakgo at 2:24 PM on December 6, 2004


Gooney, there are ways to control that. Have you actually looked into behavior training for your cat, or for the reasons cats act up like this?

There are many different reasons, ranging from litter boxes that aren't cleaned often enough to incontinence. If it's incontinence and you can't handle it, sure, that might be justifiable.

But before you hand him off, check for other causes. One thing you might try (I've done this) is shut him in the room with the litter box/food/etc (I'm assuming it's a small bathroom). Make sure to change the litter regularly - as in, every 2 or 3 days regularly. STOP USING CLUMPING LITTER, as some cats understandably don't like stepping in litter that contains remnants of their week-or-more old urine. You wouldn't, either. also, try using newspaper litter. Some kitties with sensitive feet are hurt by the sharpness of traditional cat litter. Shred or tear up newspaper and put that in the box instead.

Once the cat is okay going in the box when he's shut in the room, give him access to more and more of the house. This process can take a few weeks or a month, but it's well worth it.

Cats have a natural tendency to use litter boxes. If yours isn't, he's either incontinent or needs retraining.

Your idea about a farm is nice but misguided. Indoor cats that are suddenly put onto farms have a nasty habit of getting run over or otherwise killed. You've only equipped him for an indoor life. If it turns out he's incontinent, there are actually rescues who will still take care of him. I advise finding one of these rescues. If you need help doing that, please email me and we can work together to find one.
posted by u.n. owen at 2:26 PM on December 6, 2004


Quinbus, if you divorce someone, I'm assuming they're relatively self-sufficient or capable of becoming so.

Pets are not self-sufficient, particularly those raised with the comforts of living in a human home. A pet is much more akin to a baby than a spouse - very, VERY few reasons would compel someone to give up a baby, because they are incapable of fending for themselves. An indoor cat is just as helpless.
posted by u.n. owen at 2:28 PM on December 6, 2004


VERY few reasons would compel someone to give up a baby

Human adoption really does happen you know -- my wife works for an adoption agency. And I think the whole point of the original question was to find a "least bad" solution for the sake of the cats; the truly irresponsible abandon their unwanted pets and don't bother to ask, which I find heartbreaking.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 2:50 PM on December 6, 2004


u.n. owen: some cats simply piss as a statement. My cat Spike is in good health, has a litterbox AND goes outside so can piss there when he likes - but if he thinks I'm ignoring him - such as not getting up immediately at 5 a.m. on a winter morning to let him out - he sometimes pisses on something to get my attention, with a big production of "covering it up" so I know he's done it. It's incredibly annoying, not least because he's otherwise a great guy and his life is as pleasant as I can make it. Sometimes there's simply no straightforward solution.
posted by zadcat at 2:58 PM on December 6, 2004


Okay, this is going to sound pretty sourpuss, but how about not getting cats if you don't know you'll be able to take care of them for the 15-20 years of your life?

You're right, that sounds idiotic. Get a life.
posted by rushmc at 3:01 PM on December 6, 2004


after zadcat's comments, ::insert joke about how cats are evil here::
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:19 PM on December 6, 2004 [1 favorite]


I want to find him a nice farm to live on.

I strongly support the statements about getting him to a vet, he could have a serious medical problem. Cats do not piss as a "statement", people who don't understand animal behaviour say things like this. The life of a farm cat is not an easy or nice one, if you cannot keep your cat, please put him to sleep (he is unadoptable with a medical/behavioural problem like you describe).

While I agree in principle with what u.n. owen says (and disagree with what rushmc says. Since pets are not a necessity of life and have no choice in the matter, it's not at all unreasonable to expect that people be prepared to make a lifetime commitment to them, the people who should "get a life" are those who feel living creatures are disposable - NOT saying that this is the case with vraxoin), I do recognize that sometimes circumstances change in ways we cannot control.

There's been some good advice here: rescue would be my first choice, but I'd only consider a no-kill shelter if I checked it out thoroughly and found that the tunrover rate was high. "No-kill" sounds like a compassionate, wonderful idea in principle, but often what ends up happening is that animals which have been housepets their whole lives end up being warehoused in cages until they die or go crazy - I do not feel that this is in any way more humane than euthanasia for many animals. Most no-kill shelters only accept animals with a good chance of placement, which means that really what they're doing is passing the "kill" buck. If I truly could not keep an animal, and could not find a home for it myself (that I checked and triple-checked) or through a rescue, I'd seriously consider putting the animal to sleep rather than surrendering it to a shelter. People have a rosy view of their pets finding a good home, but this is not how things turn out for the majority of animals in shelters, kill or no kill. Good luck vraxoin.
posted by biscotti at 3:33 PM on December 6, 2004


The fact that you say the reasons are "too involved to go into" makes me think that they're probably not very good reasons and you know it. If you want to get rid of your animals, come out and say so.

I guess everyone's piling on u.n. owen, but I completely agree with his statement. What possible reason would necessitate basically signing your cats' death warrents? A cat-unfriendly apartment? Gimme a break. This isn't a dog. This is an animal that basically requires no upkeep. Just feed it and keep its litterbox clean. You couldn't ask for an animal that requires less human intervention.

You may very well have some "personal" reasons that nobody can else can figure out, but understand that we're going to assume "personal problems" translates to "I personally just don't want them anymore." If the reason were innocuous you would have said it already.

I'm with you, u.n. owen. If you'll pardon the cat-pun, this kind of toss-away attitude rubs me the wrong way.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:51 PM on December 6, 2004


Cats do not piss as a "statement", people who don't understand animal behaviour say things like this.

For many years I had cats who would never think of pissing as a statement, and I thought all cats were as fastidious as mine unless they were sick. Now that I have a cat who does do it, and since I know he's physically healthy and could easily use his box or go outside, it's clearly a deliberate choice made for a reason. (Recently I've had house guests, and said cat has pissed on a new duvet and on my courier bag - not at all randomly chosen, but things he understands are valued. Yes, it's all a ploy to get my attention. Yes, I'm aware that these are signs of some dysfunctional relationship, which I probably need to work on - but I'm not denying it's a form of communication.)

Surely you're aware that many animals use urine as a marker under various circumstances, so why does this behaviour by household pets seem so unlikely?
posted by zadcat at 3:59 PM on December 6, 2004


MeTa.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:50 PM on December 6, 2004 [1 favorite]


I've seen people have reasonably good success with posting cats for adoption on freecycle lists (seems a bit callous, I know, but it also seems to work), and also on livejournal communities related to their towns. In both cases, checking to see that your requestors are long time members of the community might help to avoid some of the problems described above.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:12 PM on December 6, 2004


things he understands are valued

You are assigning moral values to an amoral creature. Please think about this a bit more. You can't solve the problem if you don't understand the animal, and animals are not moral agents. The cat could be peeing on the duvet for all manner of reasons, from an undetected health issue, to a habit brought about by lingering pee smell on the duvet (just because you can't smell it doesn't mean the cat can't) to some other behavioural issue, he is not peeing on the duvet to piss you off. Cats do not understand "value" in the sense that you're thinking of, you're taking the way his behaviour makes you feel (I value my duvet, therefore he pees on it to annoy me) as the reason for the behaviour.
posted by biscotti at 8:04 PM on December 6, 2004


I live in Austin and I'm a responsible cat owner. Alas, my kitty does not particularly get along with others :(. Sorry.
posted by marble at 10:05 PM on December 6, 2004


You are assigning moral values to an amoral creature... Cats do not understand "value" in the sense that you're thinking of, you're taking the way his behaviour makes you feel (I value my duvet, therefore he pees on it to annoy me) as the reason for the behaviour.

I think you're making unnecessary assumptions about meaningful actions requiring rational predetermination. Human beings sometimes respond to someone angrily without knowing why, only to later realize that they were upset over x/y/z. A cat is certainly capable of feeling overlooked or bested and could certainly act out in a way that expressed that without having to consciously form a logical argument for his action.
posted by mdn at 10:06 PM on December 6, 2004


You're right, that sounds idiotic. Get a life.

Human beings sometimes respond to someone angrily without knowing why, only to later realize that they were upset over x/y/z.

Hmm. Guilty as charged. I apologize for the wording, u.n. owen, though I stick by the sentiment.
posted by rushmc at 11:11 PM on December 6, 2004


The "free to a good home" route is not all that dangerous, as it is fairly obvious what the respondent desires the animal for (i.e. if its actually a FAMILY, more than one person, you're safe). I think I actually got someone in a lab coat asking for my cousin's cat when I was finding it a home after he moved.
posted by mek at 12:40 AM on December 7, 2004


A cat is certainly capable of feeling overlooked or bested and could certainly act out in a way that expressed that without having to consciously form a logical argument for his action.

Cats are susceptible to stress, and this can definitely affect their behaviour, including extralitterboxular activities, however, acting out of stress is not the same as acting out of spite, or making a statement via an action, or understanding not only "value" in a human sense, but that peeing on something valued will cause emotional distress. In my opinion, it's simply not at all useful, and in fact counterproductive, to assign human morality to animals. It places expectations on them which they cannot meet. Whether the animals possess this morality or not may be debatable, but I don't think it's in any way relevant, or helpful, in trying to solve behavioural problems (or, indeed, medical problems, which are often likely when cats stop using the litter box). Saying "my cat is peeing out of spite" sets up a conflict between the owner, and the owner's imagination of what the cat's peeing means, whereas saying "my cat is peeing inappropriately, let's find out why" sets up no conflict, and gives a much better chance of successfully resolving the problem, since then you're open to exploring everything from medical problems to stress, but most importantly, you're not assigning motives whose accuracy you have no way of determining. It adds a wholly unnecessary extra step (for which you have no evidence) between problem and resolution.
posted by biscotti at 10:23 AM on December 7, 2004


I strongly support the statements about getting him to a vet, he could have a serious medical problem. Cats do not piss as a "statement",

Gooney we have two indoor cats one of whom has your cat's problem. She is healthy and sees a vet yearly. We acquired her second and figure she was about a year old. We're pretty confident why she was turned into the shelter in the first place but they weren't informed. Please, if you give your cat up be truthful with the shelter.

Location doesn't seem to matter as we've lived in three different houses. She has led a pretty stress free life. We've minimized the problem some what by cleaning the boxes twice a day and just not leaving any cloth where she can get it. Still every once and a while you'll forget to hang the bath mat up or a towel will fall down and she'll be there in minutes.

She also loves to eat plastic. Can't leave a shopping or garbage bag around 'cause she'll chew the corner out. She won't eat any kind of people food (tuna, milk) but will eat just about any kind of cat food. Personally I figure she is just insane and I look on the bright side that she leaves the furniture alone.
posted by Mitheral at 11:20 AM on December 7, 2004


hmmm. i just wrote this [self link] to post in response to this, but finally decided it was inapprorpiate. however, after rushmc linked here, it struck me that this is a more appropriate context in many ways.
posted by andrew cooke at 1:03 PM on December 12, 2004


note: Ask MetaFilter is as useful as you make it. Please limit comments to answers or help in finding an answer. Wisecracks don't help people find answers. Thanks.

Can we stop assuming that we KNOW what his/her issues are, or that they're "not good enough" and just ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION?

The rest of it is just none of your effing business.

Some people just don't want to tell you they they're so broke that they're moving in with the Inlaws and the answer to the cats is NO or something like that. You don't KNOW so don't assume. It makes you look like a sanctimonious prick.

vraxoin: Best of luck to you and yours and best wishes.
posted by erratic frog at 3:28 AM on December 17, 2004 [1 favorite]


If you can't keep the cats, you can't keep the cats. However, as their owner, you do owe it to those cats to take as much time and effort as you need to in order to find a good home.

Try offering them to a good home that's willing to make a donation to the local SPCA or other animal center. Anyone who likes animals will have little problem with that, especially if it's to prevent "collectors", and they'll know it's clearly out of compassion for the cat and not greed.

Personally, I see no valid reason to put the cats to sleep. It'd take some truly monumental circumstances on your behalf to justify killing two healthy and happy cats. There are good homes out there, and you should be able to find one.

Finally, if the cats are not spayed or neutered, do so before finding a home. It'll make things much easier on everyone, including the cats.
posted by Saydur at 4:06 PM on December 17, 2004


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