Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Harsh Reality?

A forumer in another forum posted a question over the weekend asking if a kitten will leave scratch marks on her new laminated flooring as she (I assume so) is considering adopting one. I don't know what came over me but I spent the next half hour replying her (during office hours, haha).

Am I too harsh with my reply? and may have in the meanwhile, scared away a potential adopter who may have given a kitten a good home?

My main concern then was that the cat/kitten will be dumped when the novelty of having a cat dies off, the adopter did not research enough or the adopter did not go through the whole thought process of having to care for an animal. I do not want another cat/kitten to suffer the stress of being adopted and then dumped again in another year or so.

Mrs kxbc thinks my reply is too blunt though the content may be more or less correct. On hindsight, I think so too. Maybe I was really too harsh and direct. Maybe I was just being myself and wanted her to know the seriousness of having a pet.

The question posed by her:
"hihi all cat lovers.. i'm new to this forum and would like to know some things abt adopting a kitten..

first of all, if i do not have a car, is it still ok to adopt a cat? is taxi uncle ok with a cat in a cage cos sometimes we might need to bring him/her to the vet..

second, my house will be laminated flooring with normal classic doors for the bedroom.. will there be prominent scratch marks on these?"

I cut and paste my reply to her below:
"Nothing wrong having a pet cat without a car. Lots of us don't drive.

Done so many times taking public transport with a secured carrier. Bus drivers and taxi drivers have so far not made any noise except for some taxis which will not take pets, even in carriers. If you are booking a cab, remember to tell the operator that you have a cat in a carrier. Also remember never to put your cat + carrier in the boot, no matter what the taxi drivers says. The cat is in your care so would you put your charge in the boot? Take another cab and tell the driver he will not earn your money.

Pets are not allowed to be taken onto the MRT so take note.

When you have a cat, there are definitely going to be scratch marks here and there, on the parquet floor, on the sofa etc when the cat runs and makes a turning. My cats do not scratch the sofa but when they start playing on the sofa, their claws may unintentionally leave some marks on it. But it's fine by me. Sofas and floors can be replaced but not my cats.

And there is going to be cat fur around the house too even with daily grooming and some litter tracking here and there.

If you are one of those who want a spic and span house with gleaming new furniture and without scratches, pets such as dogs and cats will not be for you.

Cats may throw up their food every now and then if for example they eat too fast or if the food does not agree with them, esp if new food is introduced. Laminate, parquet, marble and granite flooring cannot withstanding wet patches for an extended period of time as they are porous. And if they throw up while you are not home, the vomit may already have sunk into the flooring by the time you are back home from work in the evening, leaving at best an irremovable stain or at worst, a popped up laminate.

It is true that cats make good pets and owning one or a few give immense joy. But there are a lot more things to consider before adoption eg:

1. is everyone in the household agreeable to having a cat?

2. will you not abandon the cat later on, esp when you get pregnant and are pressurised by family members to dump it?

3. do you have the extra cash to send the cat for annual vaccination, check ups (vet visits can be expensive especially when they reach old age)?

4. are you willing to mesh up your windows so that your cat will not jump out accidentally and fall to its death esp if you are living in high rise apts? Meshing up your windows will definitely spoil the look of your house unless you invest some money/thought into design and materials.

5. are you prepared to love and take care of the cat till it reaches old age?

6. do you have the time to play and interact with your cat for at least an hour every day?

7. are you willing to let your cat roam all over the house when you are not home? Keeping your cat in a cage is mistreatment.

8. cats are curious animals and they will explore every nook and cranny of your home and in doing so, they may smash some ornaments you place on shelves. Are you willing to reduce your various displays? Are you willing to forgive your cat if it accidentally breaks some precious item in your home?

9. are you prepared to live with your furniture accidentally scratched or scratched before you can fully train the cat to scratch at the appropriate places?

10. will you be the sole provider of food and love for the cat?

11. are you prepared to neuter/spay the cat when it reaches sexual maturity?

There are so many questions to be answered and these are not the only ones I have highlighted. I have not trying to scare you but you will have to consider the above and more, esp if you are a first time owner.

The advantages of having a pet cat outweigh the disadvantages. But can you live with the disadvantages? Best you speak to friends who have pet cats and chat with them first. Read up on cat onwership. There are lots of reference books in the library, especially Orchard Library (under Pets). You can also get some info from CWS http://www.catwelfare.org/ and see if you can speak to a volunteer.

I am not trying to scare you or anything but it seems that there are lots more things to consider before bringing a cat back home."

If you feel that my reply is too harsh, I will have to tone it down a little next time so as not to scare away potential adopters.

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Blogger auntie p said...

It's a good reality checklist, although I think newcomers may be taken aback a little by the long list. Nevertheless, the potential adopter can think more about the issues, and if she's really keen, she won't be detered.

10:50 AM, December 27, 2006  
Anonymous Karen Jo said...

I don't think you were too harsh. First time would-be cat owners should have all the information that they can be given about what taking care of a cat means, so that they will be prepared when accidents happen. Taking care of any animal is a great commitment and should never be taken on lightly or without a lot of thought.

3:39 PM, December 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I came across your blog by accident and think that your reply was not too harsh.

My husband and I recently became new cat owners when we adopted 2 kittens from SPCA. Although we read up, did our research and talked to almost everyone we knew who owned a cat, nothing prepared us for the first 2 weeks when one of the kittens developed diarrhea. The whole house stank and there was poop and streak marks everywhere. We spent those 2 weeks doing nothing but cleaning, clearing the kitty litter and learnt how challenging it is to administer medication to a cat. I'm ashamed to say that by the end of the first week, I was totally stressed out and seriously considered returning the kittens to SPCA. I didn't when I remembered that I had already made a committment to love and care for them. The kittens are now 9-months old and a part of the family.

New cat owners need to know what owning a cat really entails and that they have to take the good with the bad. It would be irresponsible to gloss over the inconveniences just so that we don't deter a potential adopter.

4:39 PM, December 28, 2006  
Anonymous rationalneurotic said...

Well... it's better to give them the negative than to glaze it over. It takes a lot of guts to admit that having cats are not all sunshine and rainbows, but damn, when they start purring at my feet, I can almost forgive them for peeing on my bed (I wasn't the one who toilet trained them!).

That's a good checklist.

9:37 PM, December 28, 2006  
Blogger kuro.shiro.neko said...

well well, since you asked, yeah, i think it's a little harsh in tone, though thumbs up about the content.

almost every new cat (esp kitten) will need time to adjust to new place, and for owner to adjust to him/her.

yes, even for experienced cat owners like me! i find myself cleaning after shadow's watery shitty butt, since he came from a big cattery. he discovered he has a whole room to himself and is shitting on the floor (each day different corners), on the plastic chair, on the wooden chair, etc etc.

ok, back to main point. i guess what you have said are all true. perhaps just to lighten up the reply, you could add some rewards that come with having a cat as a pet.

at least, the girl bothered to check. and she is quite thorough in her questions.

and i see you are making good use of your time in the office :)

11:32 PM, December 28, 2006  
Blogger KXBC said...

Woohoo...finally managed to connect to blogspot after 2 days. There wasn't any connection to US hosted sites (I believe blogspot is hosted in the west coast of US) due to the submarine cable cuts from the Taiwan earthquake.

Well, the girl replied and stated that she had not thought about the issues I had brought up and she is going to discuss thoroughly with her partner before making any decision. That's good news to me. Hope she will make an informed decision too.

From now on, I will sugar-coat my replies to all potential adopters so as not to scare them off. :) I guess I can't make a decent adoption volunteer then. Prob nice patient ladies like 5-Cat and The Flyer will do a much better job.

9:35 AM, December 29, 2006  
Blogger KXBC said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:39 AM, December 29, 2006  
Blogger KXBC said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:02 AM, December 29, 2006  
Blogger san said...

That's a good checklist especially about the messes and cost of vet care and what about food eh? It does not allow any person who reads your reply to be distracted by the idea of cute kittens. I think its a good job that you did.

5:16 PM, December 29, 2006  
Blogger Cat said...

Hi KXBC, sorry, late again .. as usual :P

I think what you have written is great. I don't think for a second at all that it is blunt. You told it as it is & you did not sugar coat the facts.

5:40 PM, December 29, 2006  
Anonymous rationalneurotic said...

hey, don't sugar coat it please...

it's like having kids isn't it? =) no one really tells them.. but I guess if they really want to have a cat, they know its advantages. You don't really want them to have cats to chase cockroaches and rats only right? You want them to want to have cats to love and cherish (although killing all the cockroaches in the process is a bonus)...

Kinda late liao, so I'm not too coherent hahaha. I hope you understand my point.

1:59 AM, December 30, 2006  
Blogger calsifer said...

Thank you, KXBC. Always wanted to but never got around to making a list of our own - am so going to adapt this for our homeseekers. =D

btw, I vote for not sugar-coating your answers. If the potential adopter is so easily spooked, just as well that they spook now than abandon after being a kitt home.

I don't think your reply is harsh in any way, realistic yes, but def not harsh at all.

9:53 AM, December 31, 2006  
Blogger auntie p said...

A happy & healthy new year to the kxbc gang!

5:18 PM, December 31, 2006  
Blogger Kimo & Sabi said...

Um...we're cats...we do cat stuff! Good response - pay attention peoples and do your homework!

We wish you a furry happy, healthy, safe, snuggly, flea-free, Temptations-filled New Year!

P.S. Sometimes boy peoples miss the toilet but their beans don't return them!

7:46 AM, January 01, 2007  
Blogger CatDonna & Cats said...

I think your response is FINE.

Your tone was firm, not very harsh at all.

It's better to steel potential adopters now - ultimately this protects the cats.

8:13 PM, January 01, 2007  
Blogger vegancat said...

I agree with your response. Firm but not harsh. It is better to lay the cards for a good permanent home. I wonder if parents expecting a child ask if the child will damage any of the furniture? I think adopting a kitten is no less serious as adopting or delivering a child.

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