Monday, April 28, 2014

What Were They Thinking - Cat Rehoming Edition

Last week, a cat carrier appeared outside the door of Sundance Natural Foods in Eugene, Oregon. Inside was a scared cat, and on top was a fun little note:

The note reads: "Hello! My name is Gizmo but my last owners called me Gizzy. You can even give me a new name if you want. I'm looking for a new home and I'm pretty nervous and a little scared right now but I'll settle down as I get use to my new home. Let's see... a little about me. I usually hang out inside or outside. I don't need a litter box - I'll let you know when I need out to 'do my thing' by hanging out at the door. I like to eat inside and I like to come inside to sleep at night. I'm a lap cat and like the 'scratch behind the ears' thing. When you're ready to get up, just stand up, I kinda get a little irritated when people pick me up off their lap. It's my one and only fault if you want to call it that (smiley face). I get along with every body except little people and dogs that chase me and make lots of noise. What's their deal anyway?! Thanks for thinking about making me part of your family! Meow! (Smiley face)" Written in the margin: "Oh, by the way, I haven't had water for a while and I'm pretty thirsty")

So, yeah, that happened. And while, of course, your first reaction should be a mighty *facepalm*, (perhaps followed by a couple *headdesk*s), I personally can't help but really consider the decision process for these people.

I think I know these people. Oh, not specifically, but you've met them, too. They're the ones who show up at parties without a hostess gift, eat all the tasty finger food, then leave without helping to clean up. They never use their turn signal when driving. They ride their bike on the sidewalk, oblivious to pedestrians jumping out of the way. When they HAD a cat, he crapped and pissed in the neighbor's garden so often the rose bushes died, and they laughed about what a silly kitty he was. Immature? Yes. Clueless? Yes. Inconsiderate? Yes. Over all terrible people? I dunno. I doubt it.

That cheery little note, (moreso than if there HADN'T been a note), makes me want to hunt these people down, yank the organic sugar free chai latte from their hand, and dump it over their heads.

And yet...

They also tried their best, in their own immature little way. The usual method for dumping a cat is to toss it out in a residential neighborhood or country road at night and drive off. They made sure he was safe in a carrier with a (weirdly) thoughtful note. Did they already try alternative ways of rehoming this cat?

Googling the phrase "how to rehome a cat you can't keep eugene or" number 4 hit result is from a no-kill private cat rescue.... so great, this is the first place I'd look if I needed to rehome a cat.... but look what they say:

"There are very many excuses given for relinquishing your cat; however, there are few valid reasons... if, after examining your conscience and your heart, you still wish to relinquish your cat, please be willing to take the time and make the effort necessary to find him/her a good loving forever home. . .this is the least you can do. . .and you owe it to your cat. . . and, please, please, never adopt (or buy) another animal. .. Some humans should never have pets."

Wow. Judgey much? I understand. Beleive me, I do. but what is the goal with a heavy-handed rant like this,? If it's to vent and feel morally superior for a few minutes, well, mission accomplished I'm sure. But if you're goal is really to help pets, then venting your spleen on a page that's supposed to be a resource for pet owners in need is doing nothing to convince anyone of anything, and actually hurting your goals long term.

 This is not an uncommon attitude in animal rescue organizations.

If I'm an average pet owner who needs to rehome my pet, and I know I'm going to be judged harshly no matter what I do, by the very organizations who claim to be there to help, maybe I would prefer to  take the easier, anonymous route.

Gizmo's owners wanted to do the right thing. They were actually pretty close, and I can't help but wonder if, with a little more compassion for HUMANS from the animal rescue system (which includes myself, by the way), they might have actually made a better decision.


BorderWars said...

It's counter-productive that so many rescue people don't understand that rescue dogs are a problem with PEOPLE and not with DOGS and thus the solutions will come from servicing PEOPLE.

Anonymous said...

Argh! But ... yeah, I get pretty sick of "rescue people" who forget that humans need rescuing too - maybe from the consequences of their own poor choices, but quite often from circumstances beyond their control. And then there are the ones who refuse to help a neglected pet because "people must take responsibility for their own animals!" Yep, sure they must ... and while we wait around for that to happen the doggy/kitty/pony can just continue ... getting skinny, popping out babies, being sick, or whatever. I wish more rescuers would get off their high horse, think of themselves as members of a community featuring both humans and animals, and just get the job done without all the self-righteous poop.
Like the new color scheme, by the way!