Finding a home for a cat in Wisconsin for disabled friend
February 20, 2013 1:51 PM   Subscribe

My friend may have to go into a group home due to severe problems with self-injury and other aspects of mental health. She has a lovely older cat who she is afraid to leave behind. What should she do with her cat?

I don't know anything about the shelter resources in Wisconsin, so I don't know where to point her towards. Any thoughts?
posted by decathexis to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wisconsin Humane Society
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:54 PM on February 20, 2013

Work your social network like crazy.

I was able to find homes for 9 kittens just by putting the shout out on Facebook.

I also asked everyone at work if they wanted a kitty.

This way, the person can send your friend updates and pictures of her kitty.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:54 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I agree with Ruthless Bunny, do anything you can to get this cat with friends or just into another actual home as soon as possible. The idea of an older cat suddenly being on its own in a shelter is kind of unbearable.

What do you mean she's afraid to leave it behind? Is there someone else who could care for the cat but she doesn't trust the person (not that this couldn't be a TOTALLY valid concern, just want all the info) or is it literally not possible to do anything with the cat besides rehoming?
posted by sweetkid at 2:04 PM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

I don't want to be that person, but can you step up to the plate for your friend? At least temporarily?

Also, how long is she going to be in the group home? Is this a long-term situation, or will she get out of there in a couple months?

If it's a shorter stay, I think you or one of her other friends should do her a solid and take care of the cat for the time being. It's long-term cat sitting. If the cat needs a new forever home, work your network like crazy. But in my experience with animals that need homes, those that are closest to the problem end up taking on the problem (i.e., you or someone else close to your friend).

Pros of taking care of a cat in the short-term:
1. Cats, especially older cats are low-maintenance
2. You have a furry friend.
3. You're doing a mitzvah for your friend and doing good makes you feel good.

If you can't take the cat for various reasons (serious allergies, not allowed to have pets in your apartment, etc), feel free to ignore my advice, but just in case - think about it. Think of this as an opportunity to get some good karma in your life.

Also, is there even a slight chance that your friend would be able to take the cat with her?
posted by ablazingsaddle at 2:04 PM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

Oh, and no shelters! Seriously, even a no-kill shelter should be a last resort. Shelters do their best, but an animal that's lived in a home as a pet is going to be very unhappy in that setting.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 2:07 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do look into the possibility that the cat could accompany her to the group home. Someone I know was in a group home setting for mental/emotional issues and there were two resident cats, and my friend was allowed to keep a small dog with them as well while there. The staff considered it a good therapy. This may not be possible, but worth looking in to. Even if there is a general rule, sometimes exceptions can be made.
posted by batikrose at 2:21 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

the lefty politics blog Balloon Juice is always running posts looking for re-homing help in situations like could be worth a try to contact them
posted by thelonius at 2:27 PM on February 20, 2013

If the cat has a regular vet, ask them. Or if not, ask around for the best cat vet in town. Sometimes someone who has lost an older pet will be open to taking in another older animal, and good vets will be alert to such possibilities.
posted by zadcat at 2:33 PM on February 20, 2013

I recently read about this organization, which helps pets of abuse victims. It doesn't line up with your friend's needs, but if you call them, they might know of a related organization that does.
posted by juliapangolin at 2:36 PM on February 20, 2013

I wish I could be the person, but I live in NY. Part of the problem is that mental illness sort of erodes your social network. Neither of us have an extended social network to call on.
posted by decathexis at 2:44 PM on February 20, 2013

For as long as your friend can continue caring for the cat, please encourage her to keep on keepin' on -- whether that's bringing over food, toys, treats, playing with kitty, getting him/her a nice heated bed for extra comfort in advance of possible chaos/rehoming (cats :heart: these), or whatever else might help.

In the meantime:
+ Take lots of irresistibly cute kitty photos, maybe even a video or two of him/her playing with some toys or rolling in some catnip. Post the cutest stuff on the Facebook/Twitter/general internets of area friends, family, and various rescues -- as mentioned up top, WHS could be a good start, as they are quite active on social media, but this will depend on where your friend is located (WHS is in Milwaukee and covers only Milwaukee-area animals/adoptions).

+ Check out the cat rescue groups in Wisconsin on (You can also post kitty to here.)

+ List kitty with, a site that forwards the information on to many other pet adoption websites.

+ List kitty on Petfinder. (Here are some other tips from Petfinder on how to rehome a pet. More general tips on rehoming a cat -- get him/her UTD on all vaccines/medical needs, send him/her along with favorite food, treats, toys, collars, bed, etc.)

+ Contact rescues in Wisconsin who might be able to help you find a new home. Some more. Also, too.

+ Put up fliers in pet supply stores -- there's PetCo, Pet Supplies Plus, PetSmart, and Bark N Scratch Outpost around here, just to name a few.

+ If the rehoming ends up happening, and she adopts the cat out to a private party, make sure they sign an adoption agreement (.doc).

+ MeMail me if you need help on the ground; I live here and am quite active in local animal rescue. I share my home with an aggressive, territorial, cantankerous, giant and rather ancient (but lovable!) kitty, so while I can't adopt myself, I will do pretty much anything to help any animal in need.

Good luck!
posted by divined by radio at 2:47 PM on February 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

OP, my father also has a network of people in the Madison area. If you send me a picture of the kitty and someone to contact I can ask him to share.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:49 PM on February 20, 2013

She doesn't need to get rid of the cat.

She needs to get a mental health professional or a doctor to write a letter saying that the cat is an emotional support animal and that she needs a disability accommodation to keep the cat with her at the group home.

By law (the Fair Housing Act of 1988), emotional support animals are considered service animals and landlords cannot refuse to take them or charge extra for them, even in places that do not normally allow animals. You'll need to double check that the group home qualifies under the Fair Housing Act, but I would imagine it does. That wikipedia article ought to get you started.

MeMail me if you need any help. I've been travelling with my emotional support animals and looking for apartments so I'm fairly up to date on the rules.
posted by zug at 4:17 PM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

Have her contact a few local organizations that list their animals on, and ask if she can list her kitty under their organization (a courtesy post). She can only list her on one, I'm just assuming some won't respond, or they'll take their time.

Have her write up a detailed, enthusiastic description and take 3 of the most striking pictures possible of the cat. Potential adopters have hundreds of thumbnails in front of them, make hers one of the ones they'll stop and look at. The better you play up the marketing, the sooner she'll be rehomed, which I know is important in a situation like this. Also, try to avoid listing her as a senior. Sadly, people tend to ignore listings when they see that. In the meantime, put those glamour shots to use on social media sites. Try cat forums too. They usually have a subforum devoted to those that need a home, which opens up to a wide demographic of people who always have room for just one more. Someone will fall in love. Best of luck.
posted by autosleeper at 4:26 PM on February 20, 2013

I don't live in Wisconsin and so cannot comment on the quality of the local reddit thread, but /r/Portland is pretty friendly and often has requests for new animal homes.
posted by elmay at 4:39 PM on February 20, 2013

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