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Letting go

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have just hand reared my first litter of abandoned babies. They were dumped on the vets doorstep in a box at 2 weeks old. The vets was so overwhelmed with abandoned babies that they asked me to take these ones.

They are now 6 weeks old and have grown into amazing young kittens. Healthy and strong. They all have such wonderful personalities.

How do you let them go after being with them 24/7 for so long? I have 2 of my own already.. and I'll probably keep one of the babies. But I'm going to be an emotional wreck! I get teary eyed just thinking about it.

The other thing that worries me is that the vets has told me they'd like me to do this regularly which is great! I adore doing this. But I just cant keep them all!! How do you make sure the homes are good? How do you say no to a prospective new owner? Do you wonder about them years later whether they are ok?

How do you let go?


ps - you can see my babies *here*
post #2 of 10
You don't give them away, you charge for them. Even a $10.00 price of a kitten will generally stop someone from taking one home if they are going to do it harm. If you can you check out the home prior to the kitten going there, and do spot checks after they leave. You should hang on to them a few more weeks though, makes the separation anxiety less, and whenever you can try and get two kittens into the same home.

Good job!
post #3 of 10
It is really hard to let go. i pray about it, (i will give them up if a good home appears!). one helpful thing to think about is how it will be better for them, how if it is too many i can't give them as good of care as they need. it does leave a hole in your heart, a stomped little pawprint, no doubt about it. it hurts. i remind myself that overrescuing, keeping too many (and that number varies from person to person) will not be the healthiest thing for anyone involved. as far as saying no, you can say you found someone else or decided to keep them. one man called for a kitten that showed up last november in our garage. he sounded pleasant, but he wasn't the right match for me. he had 13 cats all outside and possibly wanted to breed her. we kept her in that case. sometimes life feels like a series of goodbyes doesn't it? i know it does to me.
post #4 of 10
I've bottle fed 2 litters and it was horrible to part with any of them (I kept 3 out of 7). Simply find good homes with people that you trust. I was fortunate to adopt out 2 to co-workers who give me regular reports on their lives. The other 2 went to close friends that live 600 miles away that we get to see a couple times a year. Ask friends and family members to find good homes. You will feel much better if you find a home where you can hear about how they progress with their lives.

Contact local rescue groups to see if they can help screen prospective adopters for you. Some groups will help if you agree to continue to foster them. Most will do follow up calls to adopters to make sure that it all works out.

And probably most important, ask if your vet will speuter them before adoption. You don't want to continue the overpopulation and abandonment problem.

You are incredible for taking on 6 at once!!!!!!!
post #5 of 10
When I started fostering I thought the Letting Go part would be easier, but it's really hard.

My first set was hard to say goodbye to, and I cried a lot. But in my second set I had a kitten die on me. Boy did that put some perspective on it, I'd never had a cat die on me. So when it came time to give them back (the shelter adopts them out, not me) as sad as I was to see the kittens I had raised for two months go, I was SO happy they were all healthy that it made it easier. I mean, think about all the cats and kittens that don't make it. Your kittens are so lucky to have the chance that you have given them. And it is only by giving them up that you can help more. And crying a lot is So Okay.

As for finding the best home, I can't help too much, as I don't do the adopting. Are you adopting them out yourself? Definately ask a lot of questions, and don't adopt to anyone you don't feel comfortable with.
post #6 of 10
What I do is;

1. Charge an adoption fee, you can say it is to cover the spay/neuter cost, for care or to be sure they go to a good home, but it is very important not to just give them away.

2. Check out the new home they are going to. Deliver them to the new owner. Check out the condition of their home and if they have other pets.

3. I don't generally adopt out to students in college. I live in a college town and many students don't have the money to properly care for pets and often leave them behind when moving to a new place. Or they don't look for apartments that allow pets and dump them or take them to a shelter. I am a college student in case you are wondering. Hope no one gets offended by my saying this, but that is just how it is around here.

4. Be sure the whole family is there to see the kitten when you take it to them.

5. Keep their contact information and give them yours. Tell them that you require them to return the cat to you if it doesn't work out for any reason, no hard feelings. That way you can be sure it goes to a better home.

6. Call them or visit after a few weeks to see how the cat has adjusted and to be sure everything is going well.

Remember; you can do everything you possibly can to be sure your pet goes to a new home and it could turn out to not be. It is so hard to say sometimes and I have heard so many lame excuses for people to give up their pets. Anything from "I developed allergies" to "I moved and can't have a pet here" to "I have a real baby now".

You can also put together a little pack of cat care information. Put some information on the horrors of declawing and about the importance of feeding a good quality food and not some crappy grocery store brand. Find a little poem about the joy of having a new pet. Or one about the horrors that animals face at a pound or shelter and being put to sleep so they are aware that they are saving a life and not to just throw the cat away if something happens in their lives. There is a poem that comes to mind called 'A Dog Sits Waiting' about a dog that was dumped in the country on the side of a road and it sits and waits for its master to come back because he was told to sit and stay and the dog eventually dies because it sat waiting so long and the owner never came back. I am sure there is something similar about cats.

This is just what I do. You can do it or not but I just feel that I have to do everything possible to be sure the animal goes to a good home.
post #7 of 10
What an amazing job you have done! First of all, thank you so much for saving those precious babies!

You've gotten some great advice so far, but I would add a couple of things:

Ask them about their previous pets, and what happened to them. People will (amazingly) be pretty honest. I would feel better about someone who had pets that lived a long time more so than someone who had a string of pets die in accidents, etc.

Ask for the name and number of their vet, and ask if it's okay to call them. If they have pets, but either don't have a vet, or don't want you to call them, that's a red flag. Also, with their permission, you can call the vet to make sure that the prospective adopter has taken good care of their pets in the past.

Hissy's right, keep them longer. Most won't adopt them out until they're a few weeks older...preferably after they are speutered. If they're too young, take a refundable deposit of $100.00. They get it back with proof of spay or neuter.

Have them sign a contract with you that they will not declaw the cat. It's not that some might go ahead and do it anyway, but again, their reaction should tell you alot.

Write down questions, and don't be afraid to ask them. Don't be afraid to say "no" if your gut tells you so. You've gone to great lengths to provide the best care for these little ones, and you owe it to them, and yourself, to provide the best home possible for them.

Yes, it's very, very hard to give them up. I just started fostering last year. All of the kittens on my signature below (except for Abbie, she's my girl), I had to say goodbye to, and I bawled like a baby each time! It's the definite downside to fostering, but if you don't, shortly you won't have room to foster more amazing kittens...at least that's how I think of it.

BTW, which kitten are you keeping? I fell in love with Rainbow & Tabby! If you look closely at my siggy, though, you'll see why I'm partial to gray kitties!
post #8 of 10
For emotional thoughts, just keep in mind that each kitten deserves a chance to be showered with affection and an opportunity to be someone's favorite pet. It is tempting to think you are the best pet owner or that you can save every cat, but I'd just say that it is best for cats to be in small households where they have individualized attention.

For practical thoughts, I would suggest emphasizing the responsibilities of being a cat owner. Explain that it costs $500+ a year over the lifespan of the cat. Then do these three tests. (1) Charge a $50 adoption fee for a kitten that is altered and current on shots. (2) Without specifically telling them what to buy, ask to see receipts that the person has bought rudimentary supplies. (3) Give them a voucher/gift certificate for a free rabies shot (or something) with the instructions that they are take the kitten to a vet in 2-4 weeks.

Here is the rationale. (1) Someone who doesn't have $50 for adoption isn't going to be able to adequately care for a pet. (2) You can sort out who is living in reality by if they stock up on food, litter and a litter box. People who just buy a bunch of toys and catnip yet don't even get a litterbox are in la-la land. It shows a real lack of maturity to not to be able to Google for a list of essentials and then go shopping. (3) If people refuse to establish a relationship with a vet for a FREE shot, you know they won't be bothered to get the cat routine medical treatment over time.

If they fail these three steps, it is reasonable to refuse adoption or reclaim the cat due to neglect. (Make sure you have a good legal contract.)

But if anyone passed those three tests, I think that is sufficient diligence to let them adopt a cat. Keep in mind new cat owners need a chance to learn as they go and as long as people are legitimately trying we shouldn't be snobby about it. (IMO)

Hope this helps!

PS. The kittens look great and you did a very good job so far.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for everyone's suggestions

Specially the comment about giving the new owners a chance... and we all tend to think we can do best for the babies... which is not true.

The good news is that 3 babies have homes! Rose is staying with us. I told my 7yo this evening that it was her cat and we were keeping her... and her little face just lit up! My 7yo has many medical problems and misses out on a lot of things so it was very special for her. She is the one that called her Rose.

Rainbow is going to live with a lovely lady I met on the internet who lives 2 suburbs from me on a rural property with one small dog and 2 older children. The dog shares the bed so I'm pretty comfortable about letting her take her LOL.

Freckle is going to live with my friend Jennifer who chose him on the basis he was a boy, and would be easier for to manage to desex him. She wasn't fussed on colour and was thrilled to hear he was a sookie baby as she wants a cuddley indoor cat.

Both people have already stocked up on Iams kitten food (which they are on) in preparation of coming home.

Just for the record, I'm in Australia and we dont have rabies here so thats not a concern. Declawing isn't really done here either that I know of. Also most vets will not spay or neuter until 5 or 6 months. Thats not really a concern though as both people are determined to get it done.

I have a little pack together to give each new owner too. A can of Iams catfood, some dry Iams catfood, "Adopting a new cat" brochure from savesamoa.org, plus my vets card. They of course are more than welcome to choose their own vet, but I really like my vets. (a no kill vet of course )

Anyway I just wanted to say thanks for the support and the help. Its nice to know there are people out there that think the same way as I do LOL

post #10 of 10
Congratulations on placing two of them so far. Those are the type of prospective owners you want. You are doing a good job with it!
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