I want to begin by saying that we do, in fact, screen our adopters and make sure that they are a perfect fit for the cat or dog that they plan on adopting. Some things that adopters get denied for, are things that they really can’t change our opinion on, and they cannot get an animal from us, period.
There are things that applicants have been denied for that I look at, as an educational opportunity. For me, a simple no, without explanation leaves people frustrated and confused. Some of these things, people simply are just not educated enough about and will willingly change their minds once they are presented with the facts.
One of the most common things that I deny cat adopters for, is wanting to declaw the cat they are adopting. When you adopt a cat from us, you must sign a contract saying that you agree to never declaw any of our cats.
There are a lot of reasons for this, and you can read more about the facts of declawing at pawproject.org.
When applicants put on their application that they plan to declaw our cat, I send them an email explaining why we cannot adopt to them. In addition to the denial I also list the reasons why we don’t support declawing procedures, links to websites to learn more, AND in addition I ask them to let me know their thoughts after reviewing the information.
The responses I received are extremely diverse, I have gotten nasty and mean emails telling me that I denied a good adopter, I sometimes get no response at all, sometimes I get a fake, “Okay fine I won’t declaw, now can I have the cat?” and my favorite is when I get a genuine person who had no idea what declawing involved and the information I sent them completely changed their mind.
One time in particular this happened and the woman was mortified by the information I sent her on declawing. She apologized for even thinking about doing that to a cat and explained that it’s simply how she grew up. She even called me on the phone to learn more, and I could tell that I had truly educated her and her family and changed their mind. I proceeded by setting up the meet and greet with two kittens we had. During the meet and greet, she asked a variety of good questions and even showed me pictures of the new scratching posts she bought for the cats.
I still get updates and talk to this wonderful family to this day. My point is, sometimes people just don’t know these things… There is one point where I didn’t, and one point where you didn’t either. When working in animal rescue you sometimes want to yell at these people that don’t know any better, but the fact is they could be wonderful homes and it is also an animal rescue’s job to educate on these issues.
I took the time to teach this family about declawing, and this will affect the cats they get for the rest of their lives. It is also information that was passed to their kids and will carry on to the pets they have in their life. Sometimes it’s okay to give people with good intentions, second chances.