Where Kitty, Kitty?
August 8, 2005 3:08 PM   Subscribe

How to search for a new home for a pet? We moved from a condo to a house 24 months ago that we have been renovating and will BE renovating for the next seven years or so. Our really awesome cat hates it...

I'm not looking for advice to make Dave the Cat happier...I've been working with a vet who makes house calls, consulted animal behaviorists, have read books, done research, etc. Trust me, we will have tried it sometime within the last 24 months.

The history: I adopted him from a shelter when he was about one or so, and nursed him back to health from an abusive past. He had already been declawed and nutured by a past owner as well. He blossomed into a sociable, gentle, "dog-like" cat (we think he has Maine Coon roots.) When I lived in apartments and condos, he loved them. Easily monitored perimeter. Calm and quiet. No chaos. (Actually, I would like that again too. Argh.) He's a very mellow cat who comes when he's called and doesn't misbehave.

All of our cat lover friends adore him and are aching to adopt him, but they already have cats and Dave should really go to a one cat household. He's terrific with our dog and excellent with kids, but he doesn't care for other cats.

So, I feel stuck. He would be happier in a quiet condo or apartment. I want him to go to someone who will be very good to him and who won't be renovating soon. But I've never had to give up a pet before and have no idea how to find him a new home outside of our circle of friends. How does one advertise to find a new home for a beloved pet? And where?
posted by jeanmari to Pets & Animals (16 answers total)
Best answer: I'd look for cat rescue operations. Smaller groups with more ability to place your boy with an appropriate family. Call a few and offer to front the adoption costs/make a donation and be prepared for a few jerks who would sell their homes and move rather than make kitty unhappy.

Before you do that, are you that confident he can't get along or learn to ignore other cats? I took in couple of strays once and they came with a cat (me so funny) who didn't like other cats. Ban never did warm up to my cats but she soon simply learned to pretend they didn't exist. It would certainly be nice for you to have the comfort of knowing for sure he's in a good home and sometimes visitable.
posted by phearlez at 4:12 PM on August 8, 2005

What exactly is his bad behavior? My cats could be holding knives to my throat to make me feed them every morning and I still wouldn't get rid of them.
posted by corpse at 4:16 PM on August 8, 2005

What I'm saying is there are certain cat behaviors both good and bad that cat owners should expect and learn to live with. I'm no help, sorry.
posted by corpse at 4:17 PM on August 8, 2005

Response by poster: His behaviors aren't annoying me. He is acting so obviously miserable and he's a great cat and I don't want to put HIM through this house renovation any longer. He has taken to hiding in the basement, he gets skittish and anxious when things are moved from room to room/when power tools are being used (which happens every other day), he's lost weight.

Actually, I'm acting that way too but I've chosen to be in this situation. He hasn't. The situation has been and will continue to be pretty chaotic for many years.

There is no sanctuary (for us or him) in the house. We can LEAVE the house in order to get a break. And he can't.

Neither one of us is destroying anything, making goofy noises, etc. etc. But I'm currently thinking about it. It's pretty stressful in here.
posted by jeanmari at 4:48 PM on August 8, 2005

Best answer: Depending on where you're located, craigslist could work out for you - if you're near a major metropolitan area for which the site has listings, you can submit a free post describing your situation and screen the responses to find your cat a good home.

Good luck!!
posted by roundrock at 5:01 PM on August 8, 2005

Best answer: Since I see you live in Chicago, and the mention was made of smaller pet rescue operation, Red Door Animal Shelter is a good one. I volunteered there for a bit, and they really care about the cats (they also do rabbits and dogs, but seem focused on cats).
posted by bibbit at 6:39 PM on August 8, 2005

Best answer: Ther's always Petfinder too.
posted by werty at 7:02 PM on August 8, 2005

Best answer: Tree House Animal Foundation
posted by jennyb at 7:11 PM on August 8, 2005

Best answer: Sorry you have to give your little guy up. Have you tried talking with your vet to see if they can help you find him in a new home? The vet I take my cats to (Cat Hospital of Chicago) has often helped place cats.

There are many shelters in Chicago that might work for you. Felines, Inc. is a no-kill shelter. The Anti-Cruelty Society became a no-kill shelter last year and now only accepts pets relinquished by their owners, so you'd definitely qualify there.

In my experience helping folks get strays adopted, you may have to wait a few weeks for a slot to open up at a shelter. Some shelters may bump you to the top of the list if you're willing to make a donation, though.

Sheri at Petraits might also be able to help you. She often sends out e-mails to folks on her listserve when a cat or dog goes missing or when a pet needs a new home. (My husband subscribes to her list.)
posted by Sully6 at 7:46 PM on August 8, 2005

Best answer: Call (or email) rescue groups and ask them how you would go about rehoming him yourself, you want to know what questions to ask and how to properly screen a potential home, and what resources there are to help you find a new home (I would also make a donation if the rescue is helpful). You do NOT want to place him with the rescue unless they have almost no "genuine" rescue cases to deal with at the time. Most rescues should be more than happy to help people in your situation, especially if it means getting an animal into a new home while keeping it out of rescue. He's survived until now, he can survive a little while longer while you find him a new home. I'm so sorry you have to give him up, this sort of thing happens sometimes, you're trying to do right by him and nobody could fault you for that. Best of luck.
posted by biscotti at 10:15 PM on August 8, 2005

Response by poster: These are such helpful answers. I keep delaying this and delaying this, thinking, "Well, maybe this week, he'll have gotten used to it." Because I really don't want to give him up...he is one of the coolest cats ever. But after putting him through this for two years, I also realize that it would be selfish to keep making him so unhappy so that I can have him around. This so completely sucks.
posted by jeanmari at 5:33 AM on August 9, 2005

Maybe you could set up somewhere Dave likes/feels safer? When I was a kid we adopted a feral kitten. He was okay in the house we lived in at the time, but when we moved to a new place he stayed outside and/or hid in the garage. My folks eventually made him a little house on a shelf in the garage next to the window, using an old coal scuttle and some blankets, and put a cat flap in the garage door. I think we left water and food bowls in there too. He seemed pretty happy; came and went as he pleased.
posted by carter at 7:53 AM on August 9, 2005

Response by poster: Hi Carter...We actually tried that, however, his "safe spot" keeps moving around because we are constantly moving tools and work from room to room as we go. So that negated his safe feelings. And, unfortunately, our garage is not attached. He's a pretty sociable cat and I would never want to banish him to our unattached garage (plus, he's not fond of the outdoors.) But that is a great idea for a non-renovation house!
posted by jeanmari at 9:38 AM on August 9, 2005

I understand the reluctance. I have three cats and I am embarassingly attached to each one.

As far as your remodeling goes, how long do you think it will be before he could have a place of his own to relax in? If it's less than year, maybe you could consider having someone foster him for a time, with the idea that you could bring him back home when more of the dust settles. That said, you know your cat. Two moves might be too much for him.

Are you certain that he can't get along with other cats? I have two male cats--one very mellow, one super alpha. The alpha cat gets along with everyone, so long as he can dominate them. The mellow cat only gets along with the alpha. I think it has something to do with establishing a hierarchy. Anyway, my point is that there might be a situation in which your cat would get along well with other cats.

Relinquishing him to a cageless shelter would probably make it apparent if he really is a cat who will only thrive in a one-cat family. His problems with other cats may stem from being declawed. Sometimes declawed cats do not get on well with other cats because they are not able to defend themselves as well. Or so I have been told.

The indoor cat shelter idea Carter proposes is intrigiung. Do you think he'd do well with something like a cat playpen? You could enclose it a bit further to make him feel more secure.

Whatever you decide, good luck to you.
posted by Sully6 at 9:47 AM on August 9, 2005

Response by poster: I guess I never have tried him with other cats. The shelter where I adopted him had a note from his foster family mentioning that he should be in a "one cat home". (But I don't know what the foster situation was...it could have been 2 other cats there or 12.) And not ever wanting to stress him out after his rough beginning, I haven't really tested it. I wonder if there is a way that we could test it out without committing to a cageless shelter just yet? Hmmm. This is something I'll have to noodle on. If he COULD co-habitate with other cats, then we could place him with friends and still see him (which would be awesome). Every room in the house will be getting work done on them for the next 5-7 years...except the 2 bathrooms.

If you want to see Dave the Cat, you can click here. If you want to read about his adventures in the crappy house, you can search on "Dave" within the houseblog.
posted by jeanmari at 12:33 PM on August 9, 2005

Maybe if you explained your situation to a shelter and offered to volunteer there (with your buckets of spare time, right?) they would let you bring Dave over to see how he interacts with the other cats. Or perhaps a friend would be willing to keep him for a week or two to see how he gets along with their cat? I know it's a bit of a false test since it can take cats months to get used to a new environment, but the experience might give you some insight about how well he might tolerate a new friend.
posted by Sully6 at 2:57 PM on August 9, 2005

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