We Adopt a Fifth Cat

Our three fosters were here for seven weeks. The two long-haired black sisters left yesterday to live with a young bookstore clerk and her parents, and Harvey, the gray-haired boy, will live with us, although CRAN (Cat Rescue and Adoption Network) initially rejected our application. Since no one wanted to give us the bad news, five days passed during which we wondered what was going on. Finally, a woman named Aven called, and said that CRAN had decided to give Harvey to someone else. When we asked why we couldn't keep him, she gave two reasons. The first was our age, and we could but acknowledge that we shared that concern. The second was that we had stated on our application that if we could no longer care for our cats, we would return them to CRAN. 

Aven said that CRAN was disappointed by that response because it might be hard, if not impossible, to find homes for what by then could be elderly cats with ongoing medical needs. We were astounded by her words because when we adopted our previous CRAN cats, we had been made to promise that we would return them to CRAN no matter how long they had been with us or what our reason was for giving them up. After a pause, Aven conceded that we were right, but she gave no explanation for the discrepancy. I suspected that there must be some additional reason for our rejection, but she didn't give one.

Harvey Schmoozing with Three of His Four Elders

She then wanted to know what our vet would say if she called and asked if our cats were current with their vaccinations. I said he would tell her that our cats had never been vaccinated, the reason being that he advised against it in the case of indoor-only cats. She asked if we would run the matter by him again and follow his advice, and we said we would. With that compromise out of the way, she said, "I think you should keep Harvey." We were again astounded because we hadn't known the subject was debatable. Three days later, we signed the final papers, paid the $140 adoption fee, and Harvey was ours. 

We were impressed that CRAN cares so much about its charges that it would deny a cat to its own desperately needed fosters, but puzzled as to why, in our case, one of its two reasons made no sense. Because Peggy rarely has friction with other people, and I regularly do, I can't help but wonder if I somehow incurred bad feeling. As to what I might have done, all I can think of is that, ten days before they were adopted, I was told to take all three kittens to PetSmart where they would remain until adoption. I refused because Peggy (who couldn't be reached that day) knew a woman who she believed would give them a good home, but the woman was out of town. The placement coordinator who I explained this to asked me to at least have the woman start the application process by filling out an online form, but I refused to do that as well because the woman hadn't seen the cats. My refusals were met with a flurry of phone calls and emails, but I stood my ground, and given how things turned out (Peggy and I met and approved of the young woman who adopted the girls), I'm glad I did. Aside from that, I can't think of anything that either of us might have done wrong, and I don't intend to ask. I do intend to remain with an organization that has come to mean a great deal to me, an organization that rests upon an edifice of values, goals, and attitudes that I hold in the highest regard.

As to why I feel so strongly, many people complain that the cost of adopting a CRAN kitty is too high, what with cats being given away on Craigslist, but CRAN doesn't even recoup its cost much less turn a profit. During their time with us, Peggy and I spent upwards of $200 on our fosters, and while we could seek reimbursement, we won't because the funds would have to come from volunteers like ourselves, some of whom have far less money. It is also true that our kittens incurred a heavy expense before they came to us, having been abandoned on someone's porch, and spending the next three months in CRAN's long-term care facility where they were chipped, vaccinated, sterilized, and treated for ringworm, fleas, and ear mites. Two days before we received them, a volunteer named Kim dropped off bowls, toys, litter, blankets, two litter boxes, canned food, dried food, a 3'x2'x4' kennel, and various other supplies, all paid for by CRAN.

CRAN is staffed by over 200 volunteers and has an annual budget of $199,000, nearly all of which comes from individual donations. It is currently building a new long-term care facility, but all of its healthy cats are housed in approximately seventy foster homes until space becomes available in one of five local pet supply stores. CRAN's cats are also listed on Petfinder.com. All applicants must undergo a background screening and, in the case of renters, their landlords are called. Everyone in an applicant's home must want the cat(s), and applicants must promise, in writing, to keep them indoors, and, where desirable, provide them with an animal companion. CRAN cats that are bonded with other CRAN cats must be adopted together. I don't know of a single other humane organization with which I am so philosophically aligned that I can give it my unreserved support.


Elephant's Child said...

That sounds truly weird and I would also be racking my brain wondering what I had done. I suspect many would immediately have put the blame on Cran.
Had I lived closer I would have itched to take in the black sisters (though Jazz who doesn't like other cats would have made it difficult/impossible).
I am glad Harvey is staying with you.

Snowbrush said...

"That sounds truly weird and I would also be racking my brain wondering what I had done."

I greatly appreciate the validation. Her words about us having no long-term care plan made no more sense to me (given CRAN's own policy) than the fact that she seemingly made Harvey's adoption contingent upon us talking to the vet about vaccines. She even said something along the lines of needing some sign of compromise, yet there is nothing in the adoption papers about having one's cat vaccinated. I might add that Peggy and I are NOT ant-vaccinators, but neither are we willing to expose our cats to risk without reason. True, a rabid bat could get into the house and bite our cats, or an earthquake might flatten the house, making them outdoor cats, but do such possibilities justify having them vaccinated? I suppose that some would say yes. An interesting twist to this is that when the group's president came to interview us about fostering, we told her that our cats weren't vaccinated, and she didn't seem concerned.

The bottom-line is that there's the group's values, and then there's the fallible human beings who run the group, and since we're 100% in agreement with its values, we'll continue for now to be a part of it.

Andrew said...

I really like that the organisation insists on keeping bonded cats together. My sister not too long ago wanted one kitten but ended up with two as the one they one wanted had bonded so strongly with its brother or sister, I can't remember which.

kylie said...

I recently took on the task of rehoming two cats and it was very difficult so while I appreciated foster carers before, I appreciate you even more now.

The cats I was dealing with had lived together, I'm unsure of whether they would be called bonded, they eventually went to separate homes and seem to be going well

Your story about cran is a strange one. All I can say is, no matter the diverse individuals makng the group, I would have imagined they would all follow set policies

Strayer said...

Congratulations on your new boy!

Marion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulisses de Carvalho said...

The cats in the photographs are beautiful, how nice it would be if more people adopted cats, dogs ... ;)

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Well despite all the drama Harvey now has an excellent home. And for them worrying if you won't outlive your kitties, chances are very high you would.


You have a really great taste of photos and the content u write is preety impressive .....n happy holidays to u to

Winifred said...

Because of our age I was worried about adopting our two rescue kitty cats but my daughter said she would have them.

Harvey looks beautiful such a gorgeous colour. Hope you had a lovely Christmas with your kitties.

rhymeswithplague said...

I would have preferred to send you an email but my email provider crashed two days ago and hasn't come back up, so I will have to talk to you hear on your blog instead and confuse all of your readers. Thank you very much for your thoughtfulness in sending the very much appreciated gift. It arrived yesterday. We have been in and out with shopping and doctor appointments and plan to watch it tomorrow afternoon. Again, thanks so much.

rhymeswithplague said...

here on your blog

kj said...

hi snow,

might have just been a weird Aven. That would be my guess.

This is such a feel-good story. Good for all of you!

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Harvey for Christmas. That seems fitting. We all live longer now so the agency needs to be less worried and you are a couple so another reason for the cat to ne okay for years at you place. Mau 2020 be a Good year for you and all.And I shall try harder to love our felines for now.

Snowbrush said...

"No idea why all I have in me is to tolerate with kindness."

You seem to live a burdensome life, so I find no wonder in the fact that you're not better able to love two cats that you didn't choose to receive. However, your cats are happy, so at least you can take satisfaction in a job well done. Also, should they die, you might discover that you loved them more than you knew. My own love for cats comes partially from their beauty and personality, partially from the fact that I have made them into a literary and artistic hobby (I own hundreds of books containing cat-centered fiction, folklore, history, paintings, photos, observations, and reminiscences), and partially because an interest in cats is something that Peggy and I share. I read about cats almost daily, and I reflect upon their nature everyday, yet I would never presume to say, "I know cats," because they're forever revealing deeper layers. It seems to me that a major difference between cats and dogs is that dogs can go from zero to full affection within, I would guess, months, whereas my older cats are still opening themselves to me years after I received them. My cats pass their entire lives in plain sight of me within the walls of this house, yet they seem much more mysterious to me than any of the many dogs I've had, probably because, dogs and humans both belong to social species. I'm struck by my cats' gentleness and sweetness, yet I never forget that, by nature, they're solitary hunters who see the word very, very different than I, and who unlike myself, could kill with a good conscience. Perhaps I'm not alone in wondering what my relationship with my cats would be like if they were to magically gain 100 muscular pounds. Dogs that could easily kill their humans nevertheless obey them, but what would cats do? Would their love for us keep us safe, or would their instincts take over and cause them to kill us? Because I know of numerous cats who developed lifelong friendships with such prey creatures as birds and rodents, I have some hope that my cats wouldn't kill me, but I wouldn't volunteer to find to find out because I know full well that my cats aren't like tiny people in fur coats.

Snowbrush said...

"They very much believe they own us."

They mark us and our possessions with their facial scent glands, but since they are surely aware of the fact that we hold enormous power over their lives, I interpret their marking as an act of love rather than a validation of the control that comes with ownership.

"Elder respect seems to be dying in some cultures as per that jerk comment above"
Well, I don't have any huge amount of respect for old people either, but I would like to think that younger people didn't actually think less of me because of my age. I think, here, that you had reference to the man who, a post or two ago, expressed the belief that all of the world's problems are caused by the baby boomer generation and that he looks forward to all of us being dead. My thought about him is that it's a sad thing to be hateful, and it's a sad thing to be stupid, so for one person to embody both qualities in such abundance without the least awareness of how moronic he actually is, fairly took my breath away. Peggy was aghast that I not only allowed his comment to remain but even responded to it, but I really did hope that he would answer my response because I would have been very interested in at least trying to understand his thought processes.

I feel the same about Trump supporters. Sadly, I only know two--Peggy's father and a reader of this blog--but there too, I have been unable to engage them in dialogue. The last thing that Peggy's father said to me on the subject was that he considered it a major strength of Trump's that no one--meaning Congress, Trump's cabinet officials, the leaders of Trump's own party, our nation's allies, or our national enemies--had an inkling regarding what Trump would do next (I really don't think that Trump himself knows what he will do next). So it is that even when I know what someone thinks, and they mouth the words as to why they think it, I can no better understand than I did before they spoke. I do know know that my belief in their intelligence and their integrity has been dealt a heavy blow because while I can believe that good people can in good faith disagree on a great many issues, to support Trump isn't simply to support a man with whose policies I disagree, but rather to support a man who is cruel, capricious, blatantly dishonest, arrogant, and ignorant. If there's a human being on this earth who can look at Donald Trump and believe that they're looking at a man of intelligence and integrity, then I can but conclude that they have no more discernment than does a rock, but, on the other hand, if they can look at Donald Trump and support him for what he is, then I can but consider them to be as depraved as he is. So, either way, my respect for them has suffered a heavy blow, one that I truly don't know how to recover from. This is why I wish I could dialogue with them from the heart, yet I very much doubt that they have enough self-understanding to communicate anything that would help me think better of them. At best, Trump supporters are suffering from a pathology. At worst, they microcosms of evil. I really do wish I had a happier way to interpret them, a way whereby I might regard as genuinely good people who simply represent the honorable opposition. I'm truly struggling here. Might you be able to advise me?

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

They are under a spell like people in a cult. He has a very powerful hold using very specific repetitive words that stick to memories of people he wants to suck in.

Snowbrush said...

"They [Trump's supporters] are under a spell like people in a cult.

I think it more likely that despite having insisted that "character matters" when that slimeball Bill Clinton was president, they have decided that character doesn't matter one whole hell of a lot when it comes to their own man. In short, they have made a pact with the devil based upon the fact that Trump is onboard with such interrelated issues as matter to them. One is the "right" of evangelical Christians to oppress other Americans in the name of "religious freedom." A second is eliminating abortion. A third is the oppression of anti-LGBT+ people. A fourth is the "right" of gun owners to own any kind of gun they please in any quantity they please and to carry those guns anywhere they please. A fifth is xenophobia in the form of anti-Muslim and anti-Hispanic immigration. A six is science denial, especially as it relates to creationism and the environment. A seventh is a strong economy in the short-term regardless of its consequences in the long-term. An eighth is low taxes today and to hell with bankruptcy. A ninth is destroying any and everything that Obama created because he was, after all, a political moderate and, worse yet, half black. As for those who deny Republican racism, I would point to the fact that, like MLK and Rosa Parks, Rush Limbaugh was just awarded the "Presidential Medal of Freedom." Its unknown whether the fact that Rush was an overt racist who compared NBA competitions to a contest between black criminal gangs and sang "Puff the Magic Negro" served as a recommendation, but it was hardly a disqualifier.