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How picky is too picky for adoptions?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
(Not positive what forum this should go under...)

Warning, this may be a little long.

At my adoption center/rescue group I've seen a few cases come up lately that make me wonder how we should go about adoptions:

#1 Woman whose children were taken away from her and given to her sister, then moves in with her sister because she can't support herself, gets to adopt kitten from one of our shelters because she filled the form out ok.

#2 Woman fills out form perfectly, but then smacks own child on the face in the middle of the store.

#3 Woman fills out form perfectly, but left children on their own all day, we know this because they were in our adoption center all day.

#4 Family fills out form fine, but children are yelling, crazy and out of control and they want a kitten.

To my knowledge they bent the rules a bit and rejected #2, 3 and 4 at my store. Personally my adoption center can be a bit picky, I wonder about #3 and #4, maybe they would have been OK homes.

Furthermore, I was talking with the staff there and we both wondered if not liking someone was a good enough reason to reject them. Off hand I'd honestly say no, even on this website there are a fair number of people who I probably wouldn't get along with, but who I know love and take care of their cats impeccably.

At the same time, in the case of #3 and #4, if they are that irresponsible with their kids...

At the same time (I am running in circles a bit) I live in a VERY high kill area, and maybe an adequate home where they are fed and loved is okay, even if they aren't treated as gently I want them to be, is still better than death.

What do you guys think? Does anyone live in a LOW kill area and know how picky shelters are there? Do you have to LIKE the people adopting the cats? What should be requirements for adoptions?

Just looking for thoughts, not experts.
post #2 of 8
Hmmm... I will say that I know that the Petsmart adoption agency won't adopt kittens younger than a certain age to families that have kids younger than 10. I will admit to agreeing with that rule... before we decided to keep baby Jordon, my fiance wanted to give him to his brother... who has a 6 year old and a 2 year old. No way, I said!

However, if you live in a very high kill area, then perhaps it would be better for the cats to get adopted out, regardless of rambunctious kids. On the other hand... would you rather the cat live a life where he's terrorized?

Tough call.
post #3 of 8
I think it also depends on the kids, and how their parents have taught them about treating animals properly. My family got our first cat when I was just 5 and my sister was 3, and my mother made sure to teach us how to properly pick her up, pet her, not play rough with her, etc.

If the kids are running wild in the shelter and the parents are smacking them on the face, then I'm thinking they're probably not going to have that dialogue. If the kids are young but are well behaved and the parents seem like reasonably intelligent people who will teach them how to properly care for a pet, then it might be ok. I think it should be approached on a case by case basis--although that takes a lot of time that most shelters just dont have, unfortunately.

A lot of shelters nowadays do home visits either prior to or immediately after a pet is adopted to gauge the living conditions, quality of care the pet is receiving. Maybe if a shelter made home visits mandatory for people with small children that would work. In my experience working at a shelter, the people who had something to hide--bad living conditions, dysfunctional family, balked at the idea of a home visit and so it made the process a lot easier. But I've only volunteered at no-kill shelters.
post #4 of 8
I'm by no means an expert on this, but my inclination would be to say that the way the parents interact with the kids is as good an indication as will be available, as to what kind of home/treatment the kitten will get.

Parents who let their kids run wild or leave them unattended for long periods of time will not be giving sufficient attention to appropriate treatment of the animal. Parents who have proper control over their kids -- and that does not mean the kids should be repressed little robots -- are more likely to provide appropriate guidance in animal handling/treatment.

Either situation may contain enough love, though, and in a high kill area, I might be inclined to release a kitten, especially an older one, to a riskier family discipline situation, as long as I had a good gut sense of the basic goodness of the people -- on the premise that chaos is preferable to killing, as long as the intentions of the people are honorable.
post #5 of 8
What a dilemma, all right! I think that your group is right for gauging the situations individually, some children at 4 can be better pet owners than other kids at 12. Even in a high-kill shelter, the end is probably a lot more humane than what kittens go through at the hands of unruly or uneducated (on pet ownership) children, intentional or not. Far too many people consider kittens to be "toys" for their children. I think that the adults should have experience with a cat before adopting one, or at least access to a mentor, plus follow-up visits.
post #6 of 8
OK, I breed Persian & Exotics kittens and there is no way I'd let my kittens go to any of those homes, but we are picky.
post #7 of 8
Well I don't think i would have given the woman in #1 a cat either..... But if you're looking for perfect you're not going to find it
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Yeah, #1 didn't seem great to me either.

FYI, I've decided to no longer foster for this group, I can no longer deal with this attitude of "it's in the best interest of the animals to get adopted" at the expense of being careful who they get adopted TO.

And I'm glad to get backed up that I'm not too picky.
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