mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Things I could probably get easier than another cat from a shelter...

Every now and then, when I have free time to kill and an internet connection, I find myself on, browsing available pussy...cats. I've long been considering getting a second cat to keep Nibbler, my 1-year-old black domestic shorthair company while I'm away at work. And I'm always amazed what steps animal shelters make people go through to adopt cats. Most have an interview and an application, and a home visit. One of the shelters had the application online, and it included 3 references, employer, and a number of questions, including "where will the cat sleep at night?" (the first thing that came to my mind is "where ever she wants to").

That makes me think that there are probably a number of things I could aquire more easily than a shelter cat, including:

- a subprime mortgage, at least prior to 2007
- a handgun, even in the state of MD
- a car

It also reminds me of a post from Megan McCardle a few months back with an interesting quote from David Friedman about his experiences attempting to adopt kittens. His observation was that shelter employees seemed like they would rather see animals put to death than risk them going to an inappropriate home. His view was that it was because it made employees feel important. I'm not sure about this - as one commenter pointed out, it may be more because they think they are doing good. But it's hard to imagine that a cat is worse off being declawed or left at home most of the day than killed. And I've heard a lot of anecdotes - although I don't know how true they are - that shelters are dealing with a large influx of pets from people who were foreclosed on or are otherwise facing financial troubles and can't keep up pet care costs.

Either way, it seems that cats and dogs are probably being put to sleep rather than with "marginal" owners that they would be better off with, and that strikes me as sad, if not tragic. I have talked to a friend who adopted two cats, and she did say that the requirements are sometimes more for show than anything else - that they often don't actually perform home visits or the like. But still, anything that discourages someone from starting the adoption process seems like a bad idea.

Nibbler kind of fell into my lap (and promptly fell asleep). She needed a home, and I decided to give her one I probably never would have seriously considered adopting a cat if not for her, but if I had tried to through an agency I think I might well have been rejected for lack of experience and not being home enough. I'm probably not the world's best cat-parent - I'm not home that much and I probably don't give her enough attention. Still, she's fed, cared for, and petted, and I think she's better off that way than on the streets or dead.

When I was rented my last apartment, my landlord told me he didn't bother getting references, because anyone could find a couple people willing to lie for them. Instead, he preferred to get a security deposit and first and last month's rent. Most shelters charge a non-nominal fee to adopt, and that probably weeds out some of the less serious adopters. I feel that the overly rigorous adoption procedures are probably doing more harm than good, and people and animals are worse off because of it.


At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I feel the same way most of the time. I think though, since cats are so independent and pretty much easy to care for, they (shelters) aren't as concerned as they may appear and probably gloss over most of the application questions about the pet's perceived future "quality of life". Anyway, just wanted to point out that adding a second cat/kitten to your one that you have now may not be the piece of cake it appears to be (that is, after you fill out all the lenghty forms). Cats are territorial and that can make for some rough few weeks after you bring the new one home. More on this, and tips for helping them get along, if you'd like, later.


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