Well, I’ve been leaving cryptic Twitter messages over the last few days as I’ve been going through a minor (and often not so minor) emotional rollercoaster. Here’s what has been going on.
In a nutshell I tried to adopt a kitten. And in another nutshell (I hope you’re not allergic) it got weird. The end result was that somebody else adopted this kitten and I am very sad about it.
I’ve wanted another kitten for years and for one reason or another I’ve not acted on that urge. Not for lack of obsessive internet searching on Petfinder and all the local animal rescue shelters, mind you. First of all, when Yoshi was young, I knew I was going to be moving and while it is easy enough to find accommodation that accepts a cat it can be a bit harder to find a landlord ok with two cats. When I did find cat friendly living space it was so small and entirely without doors so I just couldn’t see how I would successfully introduce a new cat into the situation. Well, I lived there for almost 8 years. Then I got cancer and dealt with the possibility that I might not be around to successfully see Yoshi to the end of her life like I expected to which was, seriously, my greatest worry throughout my treatment. Then I got better and, as many of you remember, I moved to my new apartment and attempted the Great Dog Adoption Experiment with very poor results. So I put the whole thing on hold. Yet, in the meantime I still obsessively lurked on adoption sites…
Fueled by stories of people successfully adding a new cat to their home, an enlightening dog sitting long weekend where Yoshi showed me that she could possibly handle a new addition to the family (anything would be better than 2 freakin’ dogs, right?) and the fact that I simply fell in love with this little tiny face I saw on the screen motivated me into applying to adopt a little boy kitty I saw on a cat fostering blog.
There are many MANY more pros and cons to adding a new ruler to this dynasty but that is a post (or twelve) for another day.
Now I am going to be kinda vague here as this particular blog with the cats is very popular and the content of my post is really only about my side of the situation. I can assure you all that the foster people are exceptionally great to their furry little wards and do a wonderful job. In fact that is partially why I really wanted to adopt one of their foster kitties as I knew they were loved and well taken care of in their first kitty days. These people are good people to the kitties.
So I saw this little kitten and fell in love with his eyes. He reminded me so much of Yoshi when she was tiny. All kittens are super cute but, honestly, for me, only a few tweak that aching in my tummy. I call it my ‘caternal’ instinct. I was smitten with this kitten.
The site said that if one lived in the area and was interested in adopting a kitten featured on the blog to email them. I did that knowing that I didn’t really live in the area (I lived about 3 hours drive away across the border) but hoping that my suitability and willingness to drive down for however many interviews, security checks and cavity searches were necessary to complete the deal might allow for flexibility on their end. Alas I got a reply saying that, indeed, they did not adopt out of the area. I accepted that and returned to my busy week walking dogs and doing fiddly tax reports for my business.
A couple days later things settled down, the pooches went home and I started thinking about this particular limitation and how when I was inquiring about adopting dogs as well as researching what was necessary to foster kittens myself that the typical rescue shelter mandate was finding good homes for pets and if the applicant met the criteria and was willing to deal with distance and travel issues it was not at all a problem to adopt across large distances and to neighbouring countries. Also I remembered reading on the Cat Fostering Blog that they have flown kittens to other states so…WTF?
Out of curiosity I checked out the website of the rescue organization these folks fostered from and couldn’t find such a rule. Now feeling a little odd about this discrepancy I called the shelter and asked if they adopted to folks in my situation/location and they said they did.
Now I got more than a little weirded out. I was very puzzled. Why would these people, on the basis of a couple sentences I emailed to them asking about a kitten, decide to go against shelter policy and deny me the opportunity to submit an application based on a non-existent rule?
You see the whole spirit of fostering is that you take care of an animal who might need extra care, medical attention, socializing etc. that a busy rescue shelter might be too busy/over capacity to provide in hopes that the animal could be eventually adopted opposed to euthanized. You do not own the animals you foster nor do you normally have much say or the final word on who adopts the animal you are fostering. That is the responsibility of the shelter that has its own adoption screening process. The adoption fee is paid to the shelter only. That is not to say that a foster caregiver doesn’t fall in love with their foster pets and want only the best for them and even encourage potential adopters to fill out applications but the final decision is from the shelter. So if they are not happy with the type of homes the shelter is finding for the animals then they shouldn’t foster from that shelter. Alternately if fostering doesn’t give them the control they desire over who with and where their foster pets end up then they should start their own small in-home animal rescue situation and then pick and choose where the pets go based on their own criteria.
So I emailed the foster blog folks again explaining that I had inquired to their shelter and was told there were no reasons why I couldn’t apply to adopt this particular cat. I asked why their policies differed from the place they fostered from. The reply I got made me furious. Suddenly the reason changed. Basically it was stated that for them it wasn’t the distance that was the issue after all but the border crossing that might cause delays/detention and since they cared deeply for their kittens they didn’t want to potentially subject one to that.
::Mrtl Style Tangent:: I’ve researched bringing a pet cat over the border and it is seriously no problem. Any cat over 3 months of age simply needs a current rabies vaccination (And proof thereof. IE: the receipt) and that is it! Younger kittens don’t need anything.
doesn’t quarantine pet animals at all. I wouldn’t even have to get out of my car crossing the border. Soooo not any kind of potential negative situation. If there was any risk that the cat would be taken away from me at the border for ANY reason I would never ever think of risking that. Jeeeez. ::End of Mrtl Style Tangent:: Canada
It was then said in their email that, differing policy aside, they thought they had possibly found a home for the cat anyway and they were sorry they couldn’t help me. Yes, a home for a cat I wanted to apply to adopt SEVERAL DAYS prior.
So in short I was told I couldn’t apply to adopt a kitten due to a rule that didn’t exist by people who normally have little to no final say over who gets to adopt said kitten or make rules in the first place and then was told upon further questioning that it wasn’t actually the first stated rule that was keeping me from applying to adopt the kitten but now a fear of ‘potential’ issues that are, in fact, total non-issues (easily discovered by anyone with internet access and Google) (and really only the concern of the shelter anyway) that imply a lack of care and concern by me for the kitten. This situation caused me to miss my legitimate and time sensitive opportunity to apply to adopt.
Um…OK! Not so short, huh?
I know I might not have been accepted to adopt this kitten by the humane society but I should have been offered the opportunity to apply.
I was terribly upset, angry and insulted. And sad, really sad. Hence the emotional rollercoaster mentioned above.
So I called the shelter again and explained everything that had gone on wondering if somehow I had missed something or if there was some sort of unique arrangement with these foster people that gave them special authority. The regular fostering co-ordinator was not in but the woman I talked to encouraged me to call the acting co-ordinator today and report what had happened.
I just got off the phone with her and she apologized which was very kind and much appreciated. While I won’t get into any details of our conversation I can say I feel much better about the situation and I felt very heard and understood by her.
And if you love happy endings then I’ll give you one. There apparently is a leeetle eeeensy teensy kitten that is similar to the one that got away. He/she is too young to be adopted yet but I get first dibs when that time comes. I’m just waiting to receive the call to drive down and take a look.
And whew! I need a nap.