Friday, March 29, 2013

The Visit

Thank you all for your comments regarding my recent post Shackin' Up.   It sounds like I've been doing it right - "case-by-case basis".  I can't imagine turning down anyone because they are living together and not married.  Certainly more questions need to be asked. 

I arrived late last night from Southern California after visiting my daughter and her husband.  The rescue line was busy and adoptions seemed to be plentiful while I was  away.  (Thank you Susan, for holding down the fort for me!)   Besides shopping and eating Mexican food, I really wanted to visit my cat-rescue-mother-ship The National Cat Protection Society.  I guess this was the place where it all started. 

My first passion was bottlefeeding kittens.  I  remember "NatCat" calling me and asking me to take on 6  two day old bottlefeeders.   When they told me not to be surprised if I couldn't save the litter, I was shocked.   ME?  Not saving the whole litter???   I was so naive and I was a lot younger then.  I suppose it was that naivety that kept me from never giving up and never losing a kitten.  Twenty years later - those words still surprise me:  "I never lost a kitten."  I can't say that today.

I used to think that the shelter where I volunteered and fostered was really militant and lacking in social skills.  I still think so.  They were hesitant but nice when I went in and the place was (as usual) spotless.  I saw an adorable 10 year old hairless calico named "Gizmo":
 She was in a gorgeous play room by herself.  Apparently, she doesn't really like other cats.  She was meowing at me through a window and rubbing against it.  She looked like a chubby little piece of calico velvet.  Ooooooh, how I was needing a "kitty fix".  I coo'd and started to open the door.  The employee stopped me.  "I'm sorry, only current volunteers can go in there."  Must be a liability thing, but I was really disappointed. 

They told me that adoptions have picked up and that they've had FOUR adoptions this month already. "FOUR???"  Maybe if they didn't treat every visitor like a criminal, they'd adopt more. 

The week before I left, I visited another local shelter and it was the same thing:  Low adoptions and grumpy volunteers and employees.  I think some people forget that this is NOT an animal business but a PEOPLE business.  I deal with people far more than I deal with the cats. 

Smile, dammit!  :) 

Maybe I'm being too harsh.  Maybe I'm envious because they have a shelter. (*wince*)  What am I thinking?


Random Felines said...

Wow - not allowed to visit - no wonder they don't get many adoptions. sheesh - people come into the shelter where I volunteer and I greet them with a smile and "how can I help you?" Interested in the real rooms - feel free to enter. Want to meet a cat - we have a room for that and will happily get someone out to meet you. And shelters wonder how they get a bad reputation.... oh well - welcome home :)

Strayer said...

The cats left here are at my place are not really adoptable. I keep trying just in case someone special comes along. Most are older and mostly feral. All here now are half feral I suppose. Well, that's how it goes. They live here their lives and I take in no more.

susan frazer said...

You are very welcome Beth. It was definitely my pleasure. I enjoy talking to people who would like to adopt from us. I was able to talk to a few foster parents that I had not met before.
You are right, we do have the best volunteers.


Tina said...

Beth this post really hit home. I get so incredibly frustrated with the shelter I volunteer and foster for. The woman in charge of pretty much everything views the public as enemy #1. I believe in doing our due diligence but I also know we need the public and they should be treated as our friends. She does not communicate well with the public. She puts them on the defensive with her questions. She fails to answer emails from people she thinks aren't good adopters. I could go on and on. We adopt out on average 1 cat per month. How pathetic is that! I have changed her mind on a few adopters thankfully but every time I turn around she's giving a reason not to adopt out a cat. Drives me batty! She has completely lost sight of the big picture. I've wanted to walk away so many times but I don't because I care too much about the cats so I put up with her. Thanks for listening to me vent. Some folks just have no business being in rescue if that is not really their ultimate goal!

Tails from the Foster Kittens said...

When I was in a position to start volunteering nearly 20 years ago I walked in the shelter I nearly turned around and walked back out.. Everyone was so grumpy and unhelpful. One woman was nice to me and I never forgot that. Fortunately over time management changed and it became a more friendly place, but it is still a chaotic mess most days. Unfortunately the friendly woman who threw me a life line was pushed out due to her quirkiness.. and I've never gotten over that..

I still foster because I care, but I no longer volunteer for events etc..

T said...

Only one question. How ever did you manage to not take home that Calico hairless wonder? He would have been in my purse in about 3 seconds.

House of the Discarded said...

T: Believe me - it wasn't easy! The only thing keeping me was that she didn't like other cats! *sigh*

Caroline said...

Yes, the shelter attitude is quite common. I think employees get depressed with all the euthanasias, sickness and stupid excuses that discarders use! I find that no kill shelters are happier but I've also known some that keep animals alive that should be euthanised so I don't think they are ideal either.

Everycat said...

There's a similar tendency with some cat rescue organisations in the UK, sadly. Especially some of the local branches of larger animal charities.

One local charity rudely tells anyone interested in adopting cats that if they rent their home, don't even bother applying, "you are not the kind of owners we want for our cats"

This is appalling, though renting can be a tenuous arrangement, landlords and leases do differ dramatically in what they will allow tenants to do.

Another charity local to me has the rudest "homing officer" (note officious title) I have ever met. She simply cannot believe that anyone who shows interest in adopting a cat isn't an animal hating moron who intends to abuse cats or dump them. This little outfit chooses cats for prospective owners and those owners aren't allowed to even view cats that appeal to them.

Needless to say, this outfit's homing figures are dismal.

It's always about the people, but try telling them that! It's like banging your head against a brick wall :(