Friday, November 21, 2008

And Sometimes.........

(Picture Left: One of thousands of cats euthanized at city shelter. What happend to America's "love affair with cats?" Did it ever truly exist?)

In a blog entry earlier today, I wrote:

When people do the right thing, it almost always turns our right."

Notice, I said, "almost" always.

That's because there are times when the old adage, "No good deed goes unpunished" is also true.

Such unfortunately is the case with a woman who graciously took three kittens from us more than a year ago for foster.

The kittens had been rescued from euthanization at the city pound. "Rider, Conin and Tigger" had been found as tiny strays near the Wonder Wheel in Coney Island.

They were about 12-weeks-old at the time of rescue and mostly feral.

I fostered the kittens briefly and worked on initial socialization of the very frightened trio.

By the time "Marla" volunteered to foster, two of the kittens were pretty friendly, but "Rider" (the black kitten) had made little progress. He still ran upon human approach and was tense when being picked up.

At the time Marla took the kittens I was reasonably confident all three would eventually become "adoptable" and find loving homes.

It is more than a year later now and only one of the three kittens (the friendliest gray kitten, Conin) actually was placed.

Throughout this period, Marla has occasionally contacted and pressured me about finding homes for the other two, now adult cats. (Marla already has two cats of her own.) One of the cats, Tigger is, according to Marla very social, good with other cats and good with kids. Rider, on the other hand, still remains quite skittish and scared -- particularly with strangers.

But, truth is, I haven't been able to place cats in my home rescued about the same time as the Coney Island trio.

It seems like the bottom dropped out in cat adoptions and placements more than a year ago.

I'm not sure what exactly happened over the past couple of years in terms of public affection and desire for cats, but I guess I should have gotten a "clue" about six months ago, when waiting in my vet's office one day for one of our dogs to be examined.

A man overheard me talking to another person in the waiting room.

"Oh, do you do pet rescue and adoptions?" the man asked.

"Why yes! " I answered. "Are you looking to adopt a dog or cat?"

"Oh no. But, I own a pet supply store on the Upper West Side and I am looking for a group to do adoptions out of my store. Would you be interested?"

"Of course! We have many great cats who urgently need homes. The cats are already neutered and vetted and friendly. They were all rescued from the city pound."

"Oh NO!" the man replied adamantly. "Not cats! The people coming into my store are seeking puppies or dogs. No one wants cats!"

I was taken aback by the man's rather stern reply and demand.

I told him that although we had dogs for adoption, it would be impossible for us to get a group of dogs to a store every week, as well as try to monitor and control the situation. Most of our dogs are larger or medium sized dogs. The offer didn't seem workable.

But, I think of this event now, when trying to figure out what's gone wrong with "America's love affair with pets."

It doesn't seem that "love" is for cats.

ALL of my calls on cats over the past year or so have been to give up or place cats. No one calls us to adopt cats. -- NO ONE.

I can still hear the man's words reverberating in my ears:

"No one wants cats!"

I promised to call Marla later, but I don't know quite frankly what to tell her.

I know she wants and expects me to still find homes for Tigger and Rider.

I should have made a recording of the store owner's fateful words that day.

Sadly it seems, when it comes to most cat rescues and placements, "No good deed goes unpunished." -- PCA


1 comment:

amby111 said...

You are absolutely right: no one seems to want cats anymore. I have a house full of cats I have been unable to adopt into homes. Adoptions have dwindled dramatically during the last few years. This past summer I rescued six kittens from a trailer park where my TNR group started a trapping project. I wasn't too worried when they didn't get adopted in July or August. I've always been able to count on adoptions picking up in the fall. But now it is November, and not one of them has been adopted. No one has even shown any interest, and they are beautiful, friendly kittens (now 5 mo. old and not getting any smaller). I have no idea what I will do with all of them, but I can no longer take any other kittens or cats for fostering. This is probably the end of rescue work for me, and I know many other rescue groups are in the same position. I feel very badly for all the wonderful cats out there who will never get a chance. It's heartbreaking.