What do the shelters in your area charge? And how many free kitten ads do you see running in your newspaper right now?
At our no-kill shelter, due to the increasing number of cats, the adoption fee has been lowered to $25+$20 spay/neuter deposit. At our Humane Society the adoption fee is $55+$25 alteration deposit. At another shelter - a cageless(foster-only) no-kill - the adoption fee for a kitten is $65 and that includes speutering.
All of these places include deworming, vaccines/well check, and flea treatment.
I understand the reasoning behind charging for a kitten as opposed to giving them away, I've heard this before too, but I think it is more important to have an application process.
Our local Humane Society runs the following ad, verbatim, in our paper every day:
|The Erie Humane Society advises against giving animals away randomly. If you choose to do so, PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION. Get the person's name and address and make sure it's a good, responsible home. KNOW WHERE YOUR PETS ARE GOING. Plan to check back at a later date. The Humane Society reminds you to PLEASE have your pet spayed or neutered.
I think maybe if you call around to some of your local shelters, they can give you an application to base yours off of. Also you can even find online applications at many shelters.
Perhaps, you can state in your ad that the kittens are for sale (just to weed out impulsive adopters or predators) then when they call explain that you are accepting applications to ensure the best homes possible and ask for a vet-reference.
Just some questions you might ask:
Do they currently own any pets? (ask this first)then
find out who their vet is.
What is the breed and ages of the pets they have?
Are their pets altered and current on vaccines?
Do they plan on getting the cat declawed?
Will the cat be an indoor/outdoor cat or strictly indoor?
Do they have children? What are their ages?
Do they live in a house/apartment/condo? Do they rent? Does the landlord allow pets? (and can they provide proof of that)
Does anyone in the house have allergies (particularly to pets)?
Those are just some of the questions I can think of from our application from the top of my head. Perhaps, instead of charging a fee, you can charge a spay/neuter deposit - then when they provide proof of alteration, refund the deposit. Or charge the costs you incur for deworming and vaccinating them in addition to the alteration contract.
I commend you for wanting to do it right and for insisting on proper homes. Good luck with that!
Oh... and dont forget to include a link to TCS