News and views of Chicago's animal rescue community and supporting businesses

Posts tagged ‘senior cat adoption’

Too many cats. . .

If you walk into any shelter that takes in cats, it doesn’t take long to notice how many cats are in their care. How many adult cats that once had a home, a family, a warm place to sleep to call their own. It is just overwhelming…

Sun Pacific is a senior cat found wandering the streets of Chicago. She is waiting at Tree House for her forever home.

Why are there so many kitties? The economy and aging population play a very small role in this. The sad answer to the question is this – although cats are America’s favorite pet, outnumbering dogs by 15 million (according to the AVMA), they are the most likely to be relinquished to animal shelters. Too many people don’t get that the cute little kitten could be a 15- to 20-year commitment and in our disposable society dump them and move on.

Here’s another staggering number for you. Tree House Humane Society is in the midst of a trap neuter return program in Chicago’s Humboldt Park. An astounding 65 percent of the cats they trapped last year are friendly strays – 65 percent. As they’ve canvassed the neighborhood, someone has usually been able to pinpoint where the cat used to live before being dumped by his or her family. Even the folks at PetSmart Charities that are providing the grant money for the program were shocked by that statistic.

Many TNR programs do just that – Trap, Neuter, Return. For Tree House, feral cats fall into the TNR part of the program, but strays do not. They are given a second chance and finding a permanent home. The organization took in 300 cats off the streets through its TNR efforts last year.

Yor came in through the TNR program at Tree House and is looking for a home.

Those 300 cats were fortunate to have been taken in by a no kill shelter that considers them “Tree House Cats” for life. That means they will live there until they find a home and will come back if the need to find another home. It also means that those cats didn’t end up at Chicago Animal Care and Control or another open admission shelter where adoption prospects are dim and where many adult cats especially don’t make it out. Tree House is working on building more partnerships with foster homes and boutique pet shops to help more kitties find homes.

My goal this year in this blog and in the Examiner has been to shed more light on the plight of cats in our community. As the cat lady of my neighborhood, I’ve failed on that front so far in 2012.

The dogs have taken over – with pit bull controversies, parvo and puppy mill stories – for the first few months. But, that is changing. Next week I’ll be focusing on a new suburban group that is working on FIV education/adoption and rehoming black cats. We’ll also look at TNR efforts in Lake County and update you on events in the city.

In the meantime, please forgive a typo or two on my blog – like may animal lovers I get all kinds of furry help when I write…and the cats never did too well in editing class. So, meow for now. The Blog is back and check out my stories next week on the Examiner.

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For the love of a senior pet

You could set your watch by Scarlett.

At the same time each morning, she’d either be sitting next to my head in full throttle purr or she’d be letting out her long raspy meow on the top step of the cat stairs next to the bed – just a reminder that it was time to get up (AKA – breakfast time). She would be waiting next to my desk as I stopped in to check email after work each day and would climb on my lap the same time each night. The list goes on.

We lost Scarlett a year ago at the ripe old age of 19 1/2 and it took us awhile to get back into our regular routine. After all, she was no longer there to remind us it was that time of day to do whatever.

Meeeeoooow!

Ah…routine! So many pets, through no fault of their own lose their home in their golden years. Their owner may die or go into a nursing home or their family may lose their home. Or, they just get dumped for no reason at all (it’s my blog so I can say – stupid people). These animals not only deeply miss a family…their family…they miss their routine.

November is Adopt-a-Senior Pet Month and I’ve been working on a series of stories with rescues, adopters and people that have a lot of great new products and services for senior pets. The universal comment I get from rescuer and adopters is that the senior cats and dogs they’ve rescued, fostered or adopted have almost immediately settled into their family routines. In some cases, it’s been like that pet has always been a part of the family. They also tend to bond with their new family and catch onto the rules much more quickly than their younger counterparts.

We all love kittens and puppies and energetic young cats and dogs. But, let’s face it, those loveable fur balls have their own schedule and don’t care about your routine. Another thing I’ve learned is that there are many animals that are adopted as a puppy or a kitten and returned because the were destructive, not housebroken etc. In reality, the adopter never spent the time training and nurturing their latest acquisition.

So, if you are considering adding a pet to your home, consider adopting a senior or older cat or dog. Here’s a link to my latest feature showing some of the animals that just want a break and a family. Young at Heart Pet Rescue in suburban Chicago rescues only older cats and dogs and have many wonderful pets needing homes. Heartland Animal Shelter, Save-A-Pet and Anti-Cruelty Society also have many senior pets looking for families. And, Tree House Humane Society – the shelter that introduced me to Scarlett as a kitten – has lots and lots of senior kitties needing homes.

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