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screening advice needed

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I need a little bit of advice. Our babies are 7 weeks old tomorrow and doing great. I am planning on putting up an ad for them next week at Petco and our vets office to see if we can line up some suitable homes for them when they are ready to go. (At 11 weeks) I want plenty of time to screen people and get familiar with them before they adopt my little monkeys. My plan was to have a kitten pack for the person who adopts them with information about how to raise a kitten and how to introduce them to their new home and all that as well as a food sample, litter sample, a baby litter box, a toy, and a blanket with their mommy’s scent on it. Also I wanted to have an adoption contract with very clear boundaries on spay and neutering, de-clawing, indoor only and nutrition.

My problem is that I am a bit of a pushover at times and I am afraid I will have a hard time turning people down. I have already had a few people tell me that I was being ridiculous and just need to put a free to a good home ad in the paper. (I wouldn’t do that) Anyway does anyone have some good people screening pointers?

Thanks a bunch
post #2 of 13
The best thing you can do for these kittens is to spay and neuter each one before placing into a new home. Having an adoption contract makes no difference at all once they are out of your house - it's out of your control. Many people will have their cat declawed at the same time as S/N because it's cheaper to do it all at once.
You can try to prevent that by S/N them yourself.
Are you charging an adoption fee ?
post #3 of 13
We have at sort of an open door policy for when we rehome cats. We also spay and neuter before they go to their home. It is easier on the kittens, smaller incision, and they are up playing the same day. It also gives the families one less thing to worry about.
If not, you might charge a little extra and give the person the money back or a portion when they show you proof of spay and neuter.
Ask the family about the present or past kittens, and if they had them spay, neutered, and declawed. Usually a person will open up immediately and tell you whether they have done these things.
I can send you links of rescue contracts or pet contracts that you may use, and you also could probably find a questionaire that you could have the family answer through email or on printed paper. If you have a bad feeling about the person, you can always tell them, that you will let them know, because you have had a lot of interest in the kittens.
I have turned many people away when declawing was mentioned, or if they had left a pet intact. I have also turned people away who want the personality they feel is perfect, such as someone called about a kitten, and they wanted one that was trained not to jump or climb, because he hated it, and he doesn't like when they crawl on him. I politely told them, that most if not all cats will exhibit one or all of these behaviors, and he probably would be happy with a cat.
It is amazing some of the calls you may get about your cats, there are all kinds out there. I always try to find someone who wants to stay in touch and has a way of sending pictures and updates. There is nothing better to see your babies happy and spoiled years down the road.
I send home a kitten care package, a brochure gives advice about changing food or litter, confining the kitten for the first 2 weeks away from pets, how to introduce your kitten to other cats or dogs, along with our phone number and email address if they have any questions, as well as our vets name and number in case they have any questions for him. I also give food that our kittens eat, both kibble and canned, along with a scratching post with Mom and littermates scent on it. I buy one for each kitten of the litter, and place them everywhere the kittens can use it, and each family takes one home. We also send home a blanket, also with Mom and littermates scent.
You will also need to ask your vet to write in the dates that the new families will have to get the next set of shots, and what shots are not recommended. It is a personal choice, but myself, including many breeders refuse to give the FIP or Felv vaccine, and we have a contract for the families to sign stating that they will NOT give the vaccine at any time.
11 weeks will be a good time to start allowing them to go to their homes. I have had one kitten have to wait to around 13 weeks, as she was a little slow wanting to eat the dry kibble. She was spoiled to the canned food only, and still wanted to hunt Momma down to nurse. We let her take her time, and switched onto the dry kibble, with the canned only as a treat. I think we did the right thing by keeping her an extra week or two, to make sure she was mature enough for her home.
It is hard to find the right homes, but usually you will just get a feeling about someone, and know that either they are right for your baby or not.
Good luck and keep us posted. I love hearing what families name their babies!!
post #4 of 13
It's usually not a good idea to put up an ad like that. You will get contacted by people who look for these ads, and do not have good intentions. They get the kittens and end up selling them to labs, etc. You have no protection against this either.

Instead of putting them up for adoption yourself, I would recommend contacting a local no-kill rescue group. Although adult cats are harder to place, they usually have no problem with kittens. In addition, they can do much more than you are able. They can have them given shots, spay/neutered, or make sure the homes they place them in do it (the rescue I work with actually makes them pay for it when they adopt, in addition to their fee, so when the kittens are ready to be spayed, they don't want to lose the money).

They are very diligent about finding homes. They insist on being able to visit the potential home, make sure the home is suitable, they do a background check, and they have no problems being tough if it's not suitable.

In addition people who adopt from them are asked to sign an adoption contract, and the rescues usually do a follow up. If they feel the kitten is not being cared for properly, they have the legal right to enter the home and remove the kitten. You can't do things like that. And they will do it if it is necessary.

If you have a petsmart near you, you have probably seen cats up for adoption right there. Those are not Petsmart's animals; it is a service by Petsmart to the rescue groups, so speak to someone there with the cats about their program. Petsmart should also be able to give you a list of others in your area.

I think that would be a much safer way of finding them homes.

This is what I did, and the homes they found for my guys were excellent. One even went to the daughter of a vet.

Good luck!
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Wow that was a quick reply! Thanks. Yes I plan on charging an adoption fee of $50 and refunding half when I get proof of spay/neuter. The other half is going towards first shots and mothers spay. My vet has also been kind enough to offer a spay/neuter discount coupon for the new owner to bring the kittens to him when they are old enough. He has told me several times that he doesn’t think it’s a good idea to get them spayed/neutered early. He has a six month old policy himself. I can’t say I agree 100% but if he is willing to offer the adopters the option of a discount and then I refund half the adoption fee that makes their spay/neuter free. I believe with the right families that will be a very good situation. That is one reason I wanted to start looking early.

My intentions are to find homes that agree to have them spayed or neutered. Not to de-claw the kitten/cat. Who understand nutrition. Agree to keep them indoors only. And if they should ever have to re-home the cat for any reason that they return them to us and not a shelter. Which means they have to agree to stay in touch reasonably.

I also wanted to say a questionaire would be great. It would make things a litte more serious to the people who answer the ad without me having to argue over it all.
post #6 of 13
One question ...

If you adopt them out yourself, how do you know the people who come to you are telling the truth?

People who try to find the kittens for cruel purposes look for ads like this, and know exactly what to say and how to say it. They make money this way, it's a business for them.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormysmom
Wow that was a quick reply! Thanks. Yes I plan on charging an adoption fee of $50 and refunding half when I get proof of spay/neuter. The other half is going towards first shots and mothers spay. My vet has also been kind enough to offer a spay/neuter discount coupon for the new owner to bring the kittens to him when they are old enough. He has told me several times that he doesn’t think it’s a good idea to get them spayed/neutered early. He has a six month old policy himself. I can’t say I agree 100% but if he is willing to offer the adopters the option of a discount and then I refund half the adoption fee that makes their spay/neuter free. I believe with the right families that will be a very good situation. That is one reason I wanted to start looking early.

My intentions are to find homes that agree to have them spayed or neutered. Not to de-claw the kitten/cat. Who understand nutrition. Agree to keep them indoors only. And if they should ever have to re-home the cat for any reason that they return them to us and not a shelter. Which means they have to agree to stay in touch reasonably.

I also wanted to say a questionaire would be great. It would make things a litte more serious to the people who answer the ad without me having to argue over it all.
It sounds like you have a great plan. As most know I am very much for early altering, but it sounds like with the plan of refunding partial credit with proof of altering will be great, plus the fact that your vet is working with you on discounts for the future families, is really great!! He may also be able to help you place them.
I also have our kittens/cats returned to us, if for any reason they can't keep them. Your dedication to finding the right homes shows and I am sure you won't have any problems.
I would also ask for their vet reference.
Watch for the birthday and anniversary people too, sometimes they are thinking on impulse and aren't quite prepared or haven't researched having a cat long enough, they may be more apt to be excited about a kitten, but in the long run not able to give it a proper home.
When the families visit you after the kittens are vaccinated, watch how their children interact with the kittens, I also watch how the parents act around their children, are they quick to show the child the correct way to treat the kitten or are you having to walk over and remove the kitten from the child, because the kids is not handling the kitten correctly and the Mom or Dad is oblivious to the situation. Those are great situations either.
It is also good to ask if they rent or own. If they rent, their landlord could always become aggrivated about a cat, and decide they can't have pets. If they rent and you do feel good, ask for a note from the landlord.

It will be hard to let them go, when the time comes. I shed a few tears on each one, and my son has a hard time as well, although he is getting better. He just has to say goodbye the day before, or it is a full waterworks. We share the updates with both kids, when we get new pictures and video's, and they love seeing them growing up.
My 8 year old daughter is beginning to talk with the kids who adopt the kittens, who are around her age, and will stay in touch through email.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
One question ...

If you adopt them out yourself, how do you know the people who come to you are telling the truth?

People who try to find the kittens for cruel purposes look for ads like this, and know exactly what to say and how to say it. They make money this way, it's a business for them.
I personally believe that is a chance anyone has to take when adopting an animal out even if they are breeders and adopting out pedigree animals. That is one reason the adoption fee is $50. I live in DFW where there are hundreds of free to a good home ads on any given day. If a person wanted a kitten to sell they could easily get one or more of those. In fact all of our current cats came from a free to a good home ad. If we had known better we would have gone to a rescue.

Quote:
It sounds like you have a great plan. As most know I am very much for early altering, but it sounds like with the plan of refunding partial credit with proof of altering will be great, plus the fact that your vet is working with you on discounts for the future families, is really great!! He may also be able to help you place them.
Actually our vet is allowing us to place our ad on his adoption bulletin board there. I am hoping that works out because he is a wonderful vet and I would trust someone who has a good reference from him.

Quote:
It is also good to ask if they rent or own. If they rent, their landlord could always become aggravated about a cat, and decide they can't have pets. If they rent and you do feel good, ask for a note from the landlord.
Yeah, I know how landlords can be, we are actually renters right now ourselves. Our landlord is a bit of a stinker when it comes to pets. I will defiantly be asking for a note from the landlord… or at least a phone call.
post #9 of 13
Stormysmom...I have one suggestion for you....instead of offering a 'refund' for spaying/neutering...find a vet that will perform pediatric spaying/neutering and have the adoptor pick up the kitten once the procedure has been done. Things happen in life and there is no way to guarentee these kittens willl not become mom's themselves or create litters unless you ENSURE the procedure is done. If you cannot do that...then I would work with a rescue group that performs pediatric spay/neuter and let them place the kittens into homes.

There is a really good PDF called "How to find homes for homeless pets" that you can find here:

http://www.natewood.net/Rehome.html

It has information on how to place ads as well as a sample contract.

Below is a list of low cost clinics...I would call around and see if any of them will fix kittens at 8 weeks of age:

http://www.lovethatcat.com/spayneuter.html#tx

Katie
post #10 of 13
I think someone else mentioned this but... I take mine in to be spay/neutered and the new family can pick them up at the clinic, along with the bill. It is only 30.00 so if they refuse then I know they were not the right choice to begin with
post #11 of 13
I would be interested in why you seem to not be interested in the idea of at least contacting a rescue group to see what would be involved.

There is a much less chance of them going to people with less that good intentions that way, since they do visit the home and do check out potential homes in ways we can't always do. They also can reach a larger number of people in order to find homes than we can.

In addition, they can and will follow up on the kittens, and have the legal right to remove a kitten from a home if it is not being cared for right, we can't do that either.

Charging $50 won't discourage those who can sell them for $75 or more to a lab. They'd happily pay it. And they will promise to follow up, doesn't mean they will.

I just ask you consider this, and I am curious as to why you don't seem to think its a good idea. It's been my experience that with all my good intentions, they are able to do much better for the kittens than I could, have the legal ability to do so, the medical ability to do so (they don't have to worry about future spay/neuter & shots - they simply have it done and anyone who wants to adopt pays for it in the fee), and much more experience than we do in feeling out the quality of potential homes -- they do this every day and have for years.

If there are downsides I don't see, I would like your opinions on it.
post #12 of 13
The absolute best advice I can give you is to trust your gut - if something feels wrong, it probably is.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Charmed654321:

I'm not really interested in getting into a debate over things. I'm just not a confrontational person. If you want my opinion on rescues here it is: I feel that the rescues in this area are over run as it is helping the kittens that dont have the loving family to do their best for them. Why should I add to their load when I am willing and able to do this myself? I have even been thinking about speaking to one of the local rescues about fostering later on down the road so that I can even help with their burden. Thats later on though for now I have my little ones to handle.

Anyway thats about it, I have my plan and I thank all of your for your advice. I have found some good questionaires and some awesome pointers on how to speak to the people. You guys have all been a big help through all of this. Angie and the gang send lots of kitty cuddles to all of you.
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