Adopting from Shelter - Show of Hands

labmommaNovember 26, 2006

Since there has been so much posted about peeing cats and sanctuaries and the like, I have a question. How many of you would go to a shelter to adopt a cat/kitten?

Okay, now you have decided on the one for you. The shelter rep. tells you that the former owner turned the cat in because the cat was peeing in the house. Will you still take that cat?

Of course this is a hypothetical since we all know that either the former pet owners don't tell the shelter when they drop off the cat that it pees, or the shelter doesn't reveal that to the prospective adopter.

So lets just go with you are told in advance? Who will still adopt the peeing cat?

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I wouldn't even consider it. It may not pee all over my home, but I'm not going to risk it. There are far too many cats in the shelters without known litter box issues. I'd adopt one of those instead.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 2:11PM
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Many cat sanctuaries don't even try to adopt cats with problems like that. They simply provide homes for them instead of euthanasia.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 2:13PM
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buyorsell- are these the homes that are mentioned on the other threads as cat sanctuaries, or do people actually take a cat knowing it has peed in the house?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 2:32PM
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So lets just go with you are told in advance? Who will still adopt the peeing cat?

I would, in a heartbeat. 9 times out of 10, when an animal does something like this, it's their way of acting out, for whatever way they're being treated. Alot of times, it has to do with a lack of attention. NOT ALWAYS, but alot of times, especially where professional couples or older people are concerned. Another problem that might bring this on is children who are abusive with the cat. Other than those two things, the only other things I've seen are either if a cat was very attached to another home, or if it needs to be spayed/ neutered. Very rarely is an animal permanently diposed to peeing around the house, especially if it's shown alot of love, and properly trained.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 4:45PM
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Usually shelters do not have a bio on the animal. At least the ones I've worked at.

I did adopt a cat who was due to be euthanized. 5 weeks old black kitten labeled as a biter (hence euthanasia). After much groveling I finally convinced the staff to release him. He had to be neutered at a mear 3 lbs. When I brought him home he became deathly ill. Turns out, he contracted distemper while in the shelter. Night and day I nursed that little guy back to health. Earl urinated and pooped everywhere so I isolated him to a large kennel with a litter box. He had no choice but to use it or lay in his own filth and he chose to use it.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 4:51PM
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I can't have cats because of my husband's allergies. But I do have a Rottie (K'Ehleyr) that was never housetrained, which I knew when I adopted her. She still isn't 100% reliable regarding housetraining, and probably never will be considering she's 8+ years old. My floors are laminate and tile with a couple of machine-washable throw rugs, so she can't hurt anything. Once the mess is cleaned up, there is no stain or odor because neither can sink into the laminate/tile.

So yes, I would and I have adopted an animal that I knew wasn't housebroken. And let me just say- there's a LOT more pee and poop to clean up after from a Rottie than any cat I've ever met LOL!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 5:40PM
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Absolutely NO WAY! I think it would be irresponsible of a shelter to not disclose this information. The cat should also have a "trial run" in a foster home to make sure that it is adoptable first. Our local Humane Society does a very good job of screening the kitties and I don't think they would ever do this.

Frankly, with all the zillions of cats needing homes, I don't know why anyone would invite that problem into their home if they don't have to. I am speaking from the experience of my sister whose kitty peed in three different houses throughout the years. I saw the financial and emotional toll it took on her and I would not want that to be me.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 6:38PM
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Well, I could never say never. One walk into a shelter and who knows what emotions might sky rocket. Currently, my mother is trying to talk herself out of a 10 year old timid pekingese with one eye. Not the same as a peeing cat, but had you asked her if she'd adopt a dog like that, (older, social problems, potential health problems) I'm sure her answer would be no. She already has a cat that pees outside the box on occasion so I've stayed pretty quiet on posts revolving around that topic since I had nothing positive to contribute. What I will say is that people that live with it every day may not smell urine as strongly as those that visit from time to time. My mom would be very upset if she realized her closed in porch smelled as bad as it does. She smells it, cleans, and its better. But the rest of us can smell it all the time. Since my dad died 2 years ago and mom is lonely, we decided to not say anything. The cat is one of her 3 pets that make her happy so in my opinion, it's not hurting anything. Don't know why the cat started that in the last year or two. Not a UTI, wasn't overly attached to my dad, nothing else new in her little world.

I think the majority of people that would adopt such a cat would regret it in the end. We all think we can make a difference, which isn't always the case.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 7:26PM
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I can see why the shelter people may not share that kind of information. They want to find homes for their animals and I think they just hope for the best with regard to behavioral issues.

The other side of it is does the person surrendering the pet tell the whole truth. The explanations I have always heard from the shelter people: elderly could no longer care for animal; allergies; kids; and moving. Never heard peeing on the rug in the house as opposed to its litter box. It's a shame.

From reading the posts so far, I think my choice to euthanize my cat was the best thing. I would not have surrendered him without telling the shelter about the problem and I also had no guarantee that they would, in turn, share that info with a potential adopter. At least my pet is at rest. He had a good life, albeit short.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 7:47PM
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Sancturaries ARE NOT shelters or rescues. They provide a permenant home for UNADOPTABLE pets, such as because of their age or "defect" (i.e. Incontinent)

Assuming a incontinent cat is otherwise healthy and not suffering it is certainly worthwhile to send them to one of these homes. Cat sancturaries are very well versed in taking care of incontinent cats.

While it is definetly more convenient for the owner to euthanize, if the pet is otherwise healthy and not suffering it is in no way humane when there is someone willing to provide your pet with a healthy & loving permenant home. I am sure your pet would perfer that you apply the money you were going to spend on euthanization towards sending them to a Sancturary.

In fact, these sancturaries are so interested in helping save your otherwise healthy pets life they are often times willing to meet you half way if you choose to drive.

Also, I know a couple (my mother in law's neighbors) who took in a incontinent cat because no one else would care for it! They tore up their carpet and stained/sealed their concrete. They do not live in unsanitary conditions as they always clean up after the cat, as one would when house training. It does not smell because the urine has nothing to be absorbed into.

While the care and cleaning involved with this commitment may not be ideal for all, it is certainly nice to know there are those out there willing to go the extra mile. They have had "Stevie" for approx. 5 years now!!!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 9:10PM
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Speedy is a Manx cat at Home for Life. He was surrendered as a very young kitten, along with his mom and siblings, to a local no-kill shelter, Animal Ark of Hastings, MN. While the shelter was able to place the rest of his family, it was immediately evident that Speedy could not be placed easily because he was born with deformed hind legs and is incontinent.

Home For Life accepted Speedy into the sanctuary. Little can be done about Speedy's incontinence, but the sanctuary facility has tile floors and walls that are designed to handle it. Also, Speedy's daily routine involves regular cleaning to keep him healthy and fluffy.

He wears preemie diapers to contain his mess. A skilled veterinary surgeon at the University of Minnesota Teaching Hospital, suggested tarsal realignment surgery. Dr. Kramek realigned the bones and put in plates so Speedy could walk on his pads. Speedy recuperated quickly and now runs around his PERMENANT HOME at the sanctuary.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home for Life

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 9:21PM
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the_adams... thanks for the link to Home for life. I'm really enjoying exploring the site.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 9:43PM
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Moonie 57 - Thank YOU!!

My pleasure,


    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 12:07AM
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Labmomma-I think you already know my answer to that question!

"when an animal does something like this, it's their way of acting out, for whatever way they're being treated. Alot of times, it has to do with a lack of attention."
Well,I guess my cat is the one in 10 who doesn't fall into any of these categories,which makes it even more frustrating!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 1:33AM
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Rescue groups around here take "peeing" cats all the time. They either get treatment for the medical problem or work out the behavioral problem. Most of the time, they are declawed, too.

Only one time can I think of that it was a medical issue and the cat had to be euthanized...he had FIV and his bladder infection was not going to get better. FIV causes the body to reject antibiotics. This was a very sad day...poor little thing...not even a year old.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 11:12AM
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I sent an e-mail to Home for Life thanking them for providing us with Speedy's story. Here is what they wrote back:

"I am no fan of killing animals. Where there are incontinent cats there are so many more humane alternatives than killing them, among the possibilities:

a. Feliaway

b. Cat Attract Litter and Litter Additive

c. Cat Townhouse

d. Behavioral Modification

e. Diapers

Speedy and many other cats at Home for Life have lived quality lives and I cannot imagine not having them with us."

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 1:32PM
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The shelter I got my cat from had several cats that were turned in because the owners could not cope with whatever their behavioral or medical issue was.

Some, they knew would become permanent residents. Some have found great homes in adoptive families who agreed to take on the issue.

They told me that if I had issues with my cat tearing up furniture with claws, that they wanted me to bring her back in for help with the behavior, versus declawing. But so far, no issues with Miss Ethel's claws.

They also told me the same thing for litter box issues. They wanted to assist with behaviour issues or have us allow them to take them back in should we end up with insurmountable issues.

Due to the good works they do, I try to support them with donations, even if I can't support by adopting more cats.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to the shelter I adopted from

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 3:11PM
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Sounds like a great shelter, trekaren!!

I work with local rescues and they are always upfront and honest about any defects their animals might have. It seems that the good ones usually are.

Although, there are bad ones too. When my Mom's husband recently passed away she decided to find a companion for there Lab, Nico. Nico is a seeing eyedog and my mom's husband (Dennis) was blind, you can imagine the bond these two had! Nico was used to being with Dennis almost 24/7 and being out an active. Upon Dennis's death Nico became very depressed. Nico was 7 years old at the time.

I gave my mom some good ideas for the type of breed she wanted. She went to petsmart to meet with another one of the local shelters and explained her situation. She wanted a non hyper dog that she wouldn't have to worry about jumping a low wall in her yard.

They recommended she take a 10 month old Australlian Shepard. WHAT?!?!?

but, the nice thing about the rescues I work with are that all the pets go into foster homes before being adopted out, that way all of their bad traits can be learned first!

Infact, we have recently started a program which is trying to make sure that all dogs are housebroken & trained with basic commands before they are adopted! This is far easier said then done due to time, $, and inflow of new pets. We also have a trainer that works with us who offers discounted rates to our adopted pets!!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 3:27PM
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Cat diapers? See now THAT is something I never heard of!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 4:02PM
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IF every cat who went outside the litter box was euthanized instead of being surrendered to a shelter the shelters would have a lot less cats....I believe that litter box problems is the number one reason for owner surrender.

Many if not most of these cats go to new homes successfully.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 10:51PM
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But do they stay?

Shelters don't have the time and money let alone the manpower to keep up with the animals it adopts out.

Years ago, and I mean many years ago, you would adopt a dog from the shelter and low and behold, six months or so later, a rep. from the shelter would come to your house to make sure you were treating the animal well. Ahh, I am starting to date myself now....

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 6:42AM
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we don't have 'shelters' just the local Humane Society, and they do euthanize, they have never checked on a pet I have adopted either, and it does state in the paperwork if the animal cannot be cared for by me any longer it must be returned to them, I have never done that, I make sure whoever takes the pet gives it a good home (we moved from a farm where I had 4 cats, to a place that stipulates 2 pets only) my brother got three of them and my mom has the
other one, no way was I taking them back there where each one I adopted was on the list to be euthanized, all of them were over 15lbs (one is acually 28lbs now) they said they cannot adopt those out very easily.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 10:54AM
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I would not adopt a cat that had a peeing problem.

I do not necessarily fault owners who euthanize ... provided the owner has exahausted all other options.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 11:13AM
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Most cats that pee out of the litterbox have medical issues that have not been properly addressed.

A good shelter has the animal's and the adopter's best interests in mind. Shelter staff cannot tell you what they do not know, and a reputable shelter will not withhold information. There are shelters and there are shelters, just like there are owners and there are owners.

Many shelters, unfortunately, have too many healthy, adoptable cats without problems, so I think if they know that a surrendered cat is peeing outside the litterbox, they will tell the person that they will euthanzie the cat because no one will want to adopt it, with so many other cats and kittens available. I don't know how many shelters can take an owner's cat who pees outside the litter box and do the urinalysis, possible bloodwork, 4 - 6 weeks of antibiotic and special diet to get the cat through a bladder infection or worse, kidney infection. Nor do I know many "regular owners" (just look on the Pet Forum under "Help! My Cat isn't eating 4 days") who would choose to take on such a responsibillity. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

This, unfortunately, is the reality of animal overpopulation in our country.

Now, if you are asking about a show of hands for adopting a cat from a shelter: I did!!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 10:06AM
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Yes apparently you did, but the question was:

If you were told in advance that the cat was had a problem of not using its box, would you still adopt it?

Of course, this question was assuming that shelter was trying to adopt out a cat that had known litterbox issues and divulged same.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 10:30AM
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no I wouldn't. Maybe if I lived by myself I would, but I have 2 children (well 3 including Dh, lol) and 2 furbabies. one of the reasons and maybe it isn't a good one would be that I would be afraid the ones bad behavior would spread to the 2 I already have. and I know for absolute fact that DH would not put up with it for any amount of time, he is nowhere near as tolerent as I am about animals.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 1:32PM
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No. I don't have the money to explore the medical route. It just cost me $700 to correct my cat Sofie's cystitis, and she was not soiling outside the litterbox. I will readily spend what I need to on my sick cat, but that is alot of money for me.

And, to adopt a cat from our shelter costs $185 dollars. But even for free, I would not adopt one with that problem, because I could not afford what it costs to properly deal with it medically.

I'm not sure I understand: what is the point of this question? Many shelters throughout the county successfully rehome many cats honestly and well. Are you suggesting that shelter staff tend to lie to prospective owners about litterbox problems? That would be a rather gross generalization.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 11:08PM
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I am not suggesting anything. I was merely asking a hypothetical question regarding adopting a cat that doesn't use the litterbox properly.

There have been several debates over petowners putting a cat down for that behavior, I just was curious how many would adopt one knowing in advance of taking the offender home.

I was not generalizing anything. I would think that when one surrenders a cat that is peeing inappropriately, the tendency would be to keep that information to oneself as it might prejudice the cat. Despite what you all may think, some people have no choice but to surrender their pets, issues or none.

Some people are no longer able or in a position to afford to care for their animals, and feel they are doing the best thing for their cat, you know, like a woman giving her child up for adoption?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 2:30PM
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I know all about it. (Surrendering animals for good reasons.)

But: Why would someone want to adopt an cat who pees all over the house?

Or adopt an adult dog that pees all over the house? Or adopt any animal with issues? I wish there were an alternate world where people could/would do such things, and cure such problems. I want all animals to have good homes and be loved and lead good, healthy lives. Animals deserve it, whether they pee inappropriately or not. However, in the real world of overpopulated dogs and cats, no one will go out of their way to adopt a cat- or dog - who pees all over the house.

Now, about lying to the public:
the shelter doesn't reveal that to the prospective adopter.

Reputable shelters do not want the animals returned, so lying about a problem will only bite them in in the end. I imagine there must be shelters that take in problems and are unethical on many accounts. But I hope that is the exception? Most shelters want good homes for the animals, and I hope do the right thing for all involved.

Is this a trick question? : )

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 10:08PM
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labmomma I know you wouldn't expect this from me but my answer is NO,NO,NO! I would not adopt a cat that has cat box problems. I live with one now and if I wasn't a animal lover/nut I'd have her put down. I put up with a lot from my animals but a cat peeing out of the box puts me over the edge. Before anyone gets a bit crazy- the cat has been tested many times and she is healthy. I have 8 cat boxes for three cats. She's just a *itchy cat that does not like life inside a house.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 10:15PM
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I would not adopt a cat with peeing or spraying problems. I don't get why someone would ... the real question is "if you have a choice between a cat with this problem, and one without, and the cat you don't choose is euthanized, which would you choose?". I understand folks who have bonded with a cat that pees inappropriately, but to deliberately get one? ?????

What is the % of cats in shelters that are euthanized vs. adopted? My guess is more than 50%.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 9:30AM
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Well, when I adopted my newest addition about 6 or 7 months ago, she was noted as 'hyper-active' and I more or less got lectured about how she was going to be a handful and "Why don't you pick one of our other kittens?" I wanted my little black, pudgy-faced, bug-eyed, kitten. Not any other kitten. So I took her. And she has been a major handful. She doesnt pee outside the box, but she tears apart the carpet on occasion, she likes to climb the christmas tree, she likes to knock anything she can off counter, sneak into bedrooms, tear apart anything that might have or did have food in it. I knew most of all of this would happen, I didn't care. She's settling down, we're working with her to get her under control, and to learn the rules.

I'd take a cat that peed outside the box in a heartbeat, if its the cat I wanted. However, I would want to know if it peed outside the box because of a incurable medical problem, or if it was something either medically curable, or behaviourally that could be fixed. If the cat were suffering a medical condition that could not be cured, and was only going to get worse, I'd have to weight the options and decide based on what would be best for the cat in the long run.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 5:20PM
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