Happy Halloween! May your treats be many, and tricks be few!
Speaking of tricks, there are some new tricks being utilized in the animal adoption trade. Some you may find frightening! But should they be?
When I talked recently with Olivia Melikhov and Susan Furukawa of the ASPCA, I asked about old notions of animal adoption that have recently been challenged by research.
For instance, did you know that “black cat and dog syndrome” -the idea that dogs and cats with black fur are less adoptable- is a myth? Yep! ASPCA cites studies that have shown cat adoptions are more about how friendly the cat is, not the color of its fur. And ebony dogs remain in shelters and rescues no longer than any other dogs (Hmm… It Really Ain’t So Black and White!).
A second notion we’ve heard about for years is the idea that pets should not be given as gifts. The ASPCA conducted a study and found that many pet owners acquired their pets as gifts, and that those animals are loved and well cared for. Of the survey respondents, 86% who had been gifted with a pet still had the pet in their homes (Pets as Gifts).
Some rescue groups have gotten on board and are now promoting Christmas adoptions! And volunteers have even gone so far as to deliver those adopted pets on Christmas eve or morning. I think that’s simply fantastic! I always knew Santa had a soft spot for rescue!
Finally, a practice that I confess scared me at first was the fee waived or “free” cats some rescues offer. What? I thought the idea of a fee was to ensure the person adopting the cat was committed???
But here’s the thing: there are many adult cats needing homes. There are also many people who would adopt a cat, but can’t afford the adoption fee. So… waive the fee! These shelters and rescues are still vetting the adopter, and still giving advice. They’re still working hard to put the right cat with the right human. The only thing that’s changed is what they charge.
Some groups don’t waive the fee, but reduce it. And one creative group even let adopters spin a wheel to determine the adoption fee!
Research shows the adopters are just as attached to their cats as those that paid the fee (Research on Fee-Waived Adoptions). So doesn’t it make sense to do all we can to ensure more cats have a loving home?
Well, there you have it! No tricks, just research to back up a new way of thinking about how we re-home animals.
Makes me wonder what other preconceived notions we may hold that are hindering animals from finding a loving home.