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Editor's Note December 2013 Issue

Free to a Good Home?

Think outside the box when trying to rehome cats.

At our local supermarket, there’s a bulletin board available for people to tack up flyers — items for sale, services for hire, charity events, chicken BBQ dinners, that sort of thing. Of course, it’s also the spot that people put up my least favorite signs: “free” kittens or adult cats that need to be rehomed because the family has to move and simply can’t take the pets along.

Obviously, sometimes there are extremely extenuating circumstances in our lives that force us to make decisions that are difficult and sometimes ethically challenging. I have lived with cats since my early childhood (thanks to my mother), and as an adult I’ve had anywhere between two to four cats living with me at any one time.

Honestly, I can’t even imagine what kind of situation I’d find myself in to have to find new homes for my adult cats (which, to me, are family members). I imagine that the readers of Catnip feel the exact same way. So instead of lamenting the choices of others, maybe it’s best to try to help whenever possible.

There are many more resources available nowadays to help people find pet-friendly homes and landlords. It can be as simple as an online search on your computer. If you want to help your neighbors who need to move — those same neighbors who may not be computer savvy — why not offer to help? Sometimes, an act of kindness from a caring person can turn an overwhelming situation into a piece of cake.

And while we’re discussing the issue of rehoming our pets, it needs to be stressed, underlined and shouted from the rooftops that offering “free” animals to strangers is rarely a good thing. Obviously, if you are rehoming a pet to a friend, relative or trusted neighbor, that’s a different story.

But the words “free” and “pet” and “only to a good home” do not necessarily add up to the happy ending that we are hoping for. There are plenty of unscrupulous people in the world who will not necessarily be providing the type of home you seek. And even if that potential adopter makes up just one percent of the potential adoption pool out there — that’s still too high, as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve been in the situation where I’ve had to find homes for a litter of kittens. And it took a lot of time and effort, believe me! Think outside the box and go beyond just asking the obvious animal lovers in your life. Ask those people to communicate with their colleagues at work, friends at the local dog park ... wherever likeminded people congregate who might just “happen” to be in the market for a new pet.

The peace of mind — and occasional updates and photos of the adopted pet — really are priceless.

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