Sunday, February 12, 2017

Free cat adoptions: Not as dangerous as you might think

Popoki the cat sitting on my lap looking surprised

Here's the look I got when I mentioned I'd be talking about free cat adoptions on the blog today. It's a fairly controversial topic, and typically, I steer clear of controversy on this blog. But, there's a special event happening in my community and it's raising some questions that I think should have been put to bed long ago.

So in addition to sharing a few selfies with my wonderful friends from The Cat On My Head, I'm going to take a position.

Here's what's going on. But first, Popoki wants to be sure that I get her good side.

Popoki the cat in profile

The shelter in my community, Willamette Humane Society, does a good job of matching animals in need with the people who want them. But the shelter is never quite empty. There's always an adult cat, a special needs dog or a behaviorally challenged kitten sitting in a kennel somewhere, waiting for someone to come along and make things better.

A special group of donors got together recently and decided to change all that.

Yesterday and today, people can come to the shelter and take home a dog or a cat for free. All the adoption fees have been covered by donations by this wonderful group of donors. The shelter doesn't lose money that could be used to help more animals, and the pets get the homes they need at a fast clip.

At the start of the event yesterday morning, there were some 300 people lined up outside to take advantage of this deal. By the end of the day, some 500 people had been through the shelter.

And all of the dogs and all of the cats were adopted. As of last night, there were no adoptable animals in the shelter. No dogs. No puppies. No cats. No kittens.

For those of us who work or volunteer in shelter situations, this is amazing news. The idea that so many pets could go home in just 1 day cheers us.

But there's always someone out there who says free adoptions turn into more abandoned pets. Those who can't afford to pay for a pet shouldn't get one.

It may seem reasonable, but it's just not the case. Research by Maddie's Fund suggests, for example, that some 95 percent of animals that go home for free remained in that home for good. That's a stat that puts free adoptions on par with paid. And it's something I know firsthand.

Popoki the cat on her perch

Popoki here can climb up her stairs to supervise me at work because she has cat stairs and a ledge made just for her. She has a catio. She takes leash walks. She eats high-quality food. She goes to the vet when she's ill. She's been here for 1.5 years. And she came home with me for free.

As a volunteer at the shelter, I was given the opportunity to take a cat home for free. I did that. And I have no intention of letting this cat go.

And she isn't the only family member that came her due to a waived adoption fee. Can you recognize this face?

Fergus the kitten

Kitten selfie! It's Fergus when he first came to this house at 3 weeks old. As a foster family, raising bottle babies and ensuring that they stayed healthy enough for adoption, I got to take this little guy home for free.

So you won't see words of despair from me about this event. It's all celebration over here. And I hope everyone who takes advantage thanks a donor. It's their generosity that makes this happen.

On that note, Fergus really wanted to pose for his selfie and get some love. So here he is, looking much different than he did as a kitten!

Thanks for reading! Do leave me a comment so I'll know you were here.

And thanks to our awesome friends for hosting the hop. We all love it so!

Join in!


  1. What a wonderful way to help animals find homes. I am sure the 500 people were good hearted and perhaps the publicity helped get them out.

  2. All interesting and good points substantiated by facts! I would have probably wondered (without judgment but rather via critical thinking) myself if it was a good idea to let an animal go for free and could this mean the animal would eventually be abandoned because the adopter wouldn't be able afford its' needs in the future. Good to know that wouldn't be the case!Popoki you have such a sweet face. Fergus grew into a handsome cat!

    the critters in the cottage xo

  3. I must admit I've tended to question free adoptions but I can definitely see how much good can come out of them too. Bless the amazing donors who helped to find so many fur babies their forever homes. (Precious pictures too!)

  4. I like the idea of free adoptions to get everyone a home- as long as the adopters are still checked for references and with a previous vet.

    1. Good point. And I'm happy to report that these weren't rushed adoptions. Everyone had to go through the normal screening process before heading home.

  5. That's awesome, Jean! What a great program, and what good news that all the animals found their forever homes. As long as the adopters are checked out carefully, and the rescues costs are being covered, I don't think there's nothing wrong with free adoptions.

  6. Hi, I love the selfies this week, they make me happy and pleased that we have peep's that care. I wish you and all the adopted kitties everywhere, a Happy Valentine's Day.
    Purrs, ERin (former stray, now Princess)

  7. You make some good points! And I just love that first photo! What a look!

  8. I agree 1,000,000% with what you say. I would also say, much as everyone would love to buy their cat premium cat food, maybe they can only afford store brands, BUT they get feb every single day with love and care. THAT is what matters,

    I love that adopters could get a friend without fee worries. Rescues need to cover their vet costs and food so (reasonably) they need to charge an adoption fee - while this might be a hurdle for many - for these people it was not,