25 February 2013

Rescue vs. Adoption vs. From a Breeder

If someone wakes up tomorrow and says, "I want a Persian," that person can get a Persian from one of three main sources.  Each source has advantages as well as disadvantages.

1. Rescue
The person can go to a county or city animal shelter and get a purebred Persian.  So isn't this adoption?  Usually no, I would classify it as rescue, because most county animal shelters around here are overcrowded and have a very high euthanasia rate.  In some shelters in Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties, the rate is 70% or higher for cats.  These cats are give 3-5 days and then put to sleep.  So, yes, this is rescue because the animal is on the edge of death.  When I got Anya from a Los Angeles City Shelter, she had hours to live.

Advantages:  Any cat you take in, you have saved their life.  You may find a total gem of a cat.  And yes, there are plenty of purebred Persians in shelters, from 3 months to 15 years.  Most cats are about $50, with huge discounts for older animals.

Disadvantages:  The cat may be sick -- even terminally ill because the former owner could not face putting the cat to sleep.  I once drove to see a white cat, but when I got there the shelter vet tech told me he was suffering from advanced kidney failure, dementia, and incontinence.  It was sad to leave him, but he had no future and, the only reason I left him, he seemed unaware of anyone or anything around him. Sometimes the illness is apparent, but sometimes it is not.  Chances are almost 100% that the cat will get a respiratory infection.  You will know nothing about the cat's history.  And something that is bad in my world, the cat will be vaccinated whether you want it to be or not.  Your choice of cats is limited to what is available at the time.

2. Adoption
The person can contact either a private rescue or a no-kill shelter to get a Persian (or maybe even an individual list a cat on Craig's List).  You will have to answer questions about your home, maybe your vet, other animals, which the rescue can use to approve or deny you.  Rescues vary greatly in the amount of information they want -- some will even require a home visit before and after adoption.

Advantages:  The cat will already be screened for major health problems.  Some cats will come with histories and/or papers even.  Most cats come with a guarantee for health and a return policy if the new cat doesn't work out.  Since rescues can remove the best cats from shelters, these cats are in better condition, younger, and friendlier than from public shelters.

Disadvantages:  The price can be the same as for a public shelter or considerably more.  Some private rescues have adoption fees of $300+ for a purebred.  Some of the information may be wrong.  Spencer was adopted from a shelter -- the owners had surrendered him and said he was 2 years old, but that they had him for 3 years.  Like with rescue, many of these cats will come with an URI.

3. From a Breeder
The person can locate a breeder and contact the breeder for availability.  Usually people do this if they want only a kitten, and not even a young adult.  The cat, if from a reputable breeder, will come neutered/spayed, with vaccinations and papers.

Advantages:  The person will know exactly where the cat came from.  If it's a kitten, then the person will not have to deal with problems created by someone else.  The cat should be healthy.  The breeder is usually a great source of advice on how to care for the cat/kitten.  If something happens and the cat needs to be rehomed, most breeders will take their cats back.

Disadvantages:  The cost is higher -- $300 to $1000 for a pet quality, more for a show quality.  (Retired queens are usually rehomed for much less.)

As you can see, I have cats from all three sources.  I don't see one being better than another, although I would caution a new-to-cats person not to knowingly adopt a sick cat from a public shelter.  (It takes years of experience to be able to nurse some of these cats back to health.)  Each has it's pros and cons.

And I'm not one to say "You must rescue cats -- not buy them." My only requirement is that the cat is loved and cared for the remainder of its life.  Too many people adopt or even buy a cat, forgetting that getting a cat can be a 15 or more year commitment.  


Barbara said...

I don't have the breadth of experience that you have, but I do know there are private rescues that do not only take the best from the public shelters. Here the public shelter usually keeps those that are in good shape because they are rapidly adopted and attract many adopting families that will end up adopting another cat. The private shelter where my two came from some surrenders and some that are strays and the ones from the public shelter that the public shelter cannot adequately handle because they need too much medical care. My two were transferred to the private rescue as highly matted (they could not move) cats with URI, ulcer in the eye. The private rescue saw to it that the cats got vet treatment and care until they were adopted, no matter how long.

I agree with you that any adoption or rescue that provides a forever home for a cat is a good one.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article Linda and wonderful information provided. I totally agree with you! All cats are equal in my eyes and a person should do whatever fits their lifestyle/mindset in life. Again, very well said! Joane

L.M. Hornberger said...

Barbara -- Yes, I know some rescues will take difficult cases. The place you talk about is one, Chapelhouse Persian Rescue in the UK is another, Blind Cat Rescue in North Carolina, etc. But for every group that will take a sick cat, there are many more that only take the best in the shelters and leave the rest. Remember Anya? She was declared too old, too sick, too deformed to be 'rescued' by 5 local rescue groups, so I had to rescue her myself.

L.M. Hornberger said...

Thanks, Joane! I used to think rescue (as in sick from a shelter) was the only noble way to get a cat. Then I realized that not everyone could care for a critically ill cat. And it also struck me that if the breeders can't find homes, the breed dies out.

As long as the cat has a home for life...

Anonymous said...

I like the way the CFA cat shows are blending the show cats with adoption of shelter cats. The shows I attend always include a Rescue/Shelter group that brings some of their cats to the show for adoption. It is very nice how everyone works together for the sake of providing homes to all cats! Joane