The Katrina Pet Syndrome: a few comments on the duct-taped cat

When the story of the duct-taped cat made the news, the shelter received over 100 applications to adopt her, and at least three people tried to claim ownership of her.

She was adopted by a family that has asked to remain anonymous. Good decision; it reinforces that they are more interested in taking care of the cat than in being heroes.

I have to wonder if the 99 others who applied to adopt her realize that this shelter has hundreds of other cats and kittens all equally deserving of loving homes? How many of these 99 people took a look at the other cats at the shelter or the cats at any of the hundreds of other shelters within a 30 mile radius?

Animal shelters across the country are overflowing with tens of thousands very nice cats and kittens. Not to mention all the dogs. Many of these animals have histories as sad as the duct-taped cat, arriving at the shelter from neglect, abuse, rescued from puppy mills, surrendered by irresponsible and clueless owners (not to imply that all or most people who have to surrender a pet are irresponsible).

This is the same thing that happened following Katrina...shelters all over the country took in cats and dogs from New Orleans and Mississippi which were supposed to be fostered while the shelter made their best efforts to locate the animals' owners who were displaced by the storm and flood.

And potential adopters came out of the woodwork - most of them not already looking for a cat or dog to adopt. Most seemed to believe that the Katrina cats and dogs were more deserving than the cats and dogs that were already at the shelter.

Some shelters that took in Katrina animals euthanized animals already there to make room for their new celebrities.

Then the predictable happened: a year or two (or less) after some of these Katrina animals were adopted they began to show up back at shelters, or advertised on Craigslist. The novelty wore off and the new owner got bored, or no longer wanted to put the time into taking care of it. Or they realized that a Katrina dog will chew up their favorite shoe just like any other dog. Or a Katrina cat might have some "issues."

Every time an abused cat or dog makes the news, the shelter receives hundreds of applications. I hope that when this happens, the shelter gives highest consideration to applicants who have already adopted from them, or those already looking for a pet to adopt.

If you have the room in your home, your life and your heart for a cat or dog you will find the ONE for you at a local shelter. Don't be impulsive. Visit the shelters as many times as you need to decide. Very often your new cat or dog will choose you when you allow it to happen.



Erianna said...

This story breaks my heart. Its so true though, no animal asks to be born or wants to live and potentially die in the pound. If you adopt/get a pet they will require patience time and love. And if you think the adoption is expensive, think again, its the committed care that is expensive. If you really are prepared for costs,(tons of unexpected costs) along with chewed up parts of the house when you turn your back and and a smiling snoot with a tennis ball awaiting you when you really wanna nap; then get a dog. Despite all the time and money it may be, you will never ever ever have a better best friend. Do your research and be ready because it will be the best decision you make. Thank you to who ever posted this because the last thing these animal friends need after all they have been through is to be abandoned again and most likely euthanized. "Know what you are getting in to, and love what you are getting into". Remember that all animals in shelters are there because they are waiting and hoping for a home and in some way or another have been abandoned, so please if you are ready, give them a chance, because they all deserve it!

nytrader356 said...

So sorry about the whole Katrina mess with a few bad pet owners. Teri was amazing there. I will miss her as head of Noah's Wish forever. She was a muse to me