Return Kitties

Why do some breeders and rescues have clauses that they'll accept returned cats? Because, sadly, sometimes cats are meant for different families than their adoptive ones.

By Janiss Garza | Posted: December 2, 2013, 10 a.m. EST

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Rescue Cat Return Cat
The biggest fear of cat breeders and cat rescuers is that one of their adopted cats winds up in a kill shelter.
Rescue Cat Return Cat
Sometimes, things don't work out between cats and families.
Rescue Cat Return Cat

If someone adopts a cat or buys a breed cat and it is not working out, contact the rescue or breeder and return the cat. It's for the best for both cat and person.

A blogger I know was going through a terrible dilemma recently. She had adopted a friendly, lively young cat that came home with her – and promptly began destroying the peaceful lives of the other cats in the family. This kindly soul turned herself inside out trying to make the situation work, but nothing could change the fact that the new cat really needed to be the only cat in a home. She wrung herself dry emotionally, worrying that she was not doing enough to help everyone get along, but with a lot of support from friends, she finally did the right thing for herself, her cats, and the new adoptee: she returned him to his foster parent, where he has a chance of finding a better fit.

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I wish every single person who adopted a cat that didn't fit in, or bought a breed cat that didn't work out was as thoughtful, caring and considerate as this woman. The biggest fear of every rescue and breeder that I've ever talked to is that one of their charges will wind up at a kill shelter. And sadly, it happens – a lot.

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Every responsible rescue and breeder has a clause in the adoption contract that states they will take back a cat they adopted out for any reason, any time in the future. Why some people don't follow through with this promise, I will never understand. Is it because they are embarrassed that things didn't work out? Is it too much of a bother? Are they so hard-hearted that they give their feelings and convenience priority over the fate of a living, breathing creature? And if so, how come they adopted one in the first place?

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I hope everyone who reads this takes these words to heart: if someone adopts a cat or buys a breed cat and it is not working out, contact the rescue or breeder and return him! The whole point of giving a cat a home is to create a lasting, loving relationship and provide the cat with a safe and well cared for environment. If for some reason, any reason, that becomes impossible, return the cat. Is the new cat aggressive and ruining the lives of the resident cats, or vice versa? Are you getting a divorce? Did your house burn down and leave you bankrupt? There is no harm in bringing the cat back, and the rescue or breeder will not think less of you. Even if you don't have as good a reason – you just don't really like the cat, or you decided he was cramping your lifestyle – take him back. The rescue or breeder will be just as happy to have him returned. Trust me, they would much rather have him back with them than dumped at a city shelter or let loose on the street, where more often than not, he won't be able to fend for himself.

And I will go a step further. Even if you are young and healthy, you should think ahead and make provisions for your cat to be returned to the rescue or breeder he came from if something happens to you and no one in your life has agreed to step up and take him in. Do this even if someone has agreed to step up and take him in – situations change, and that person may not be available when the unexpected happens.

When you take home a cat from a rescue or a breeder, you are being entrusted with a life - a kitty that someone (or several people) spent time loving and socializing, and these people are invested emotionally in him. If things don't work out, please return him to them. It's the right thing to do.
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Reader Comments

Dana    Wisconsin Rapids, WI

1/8/2014 2:52:37 AM

I am currently taking care of one of my brother inlaws cats and things are working out well. This is good to know if something should come up. I love all three of our cats and would do everything possible to keep them in the family.

Emily    Celina, OH

12/5/2013 11:45:05 AM

Hmmm that makes an interesting point. Personally I haven't adopted cats from a shelter before.

Iris    Chicagoland Area, IN

12/5/2013 9:20:42 AM

Thank you for writing a sensitive article on this subject. Sometimes things don't work out and the kindest thing that a person can do is to return the kitty to the shelter. Then, that kitty can find a home where it will fit in and be loved. May God Bless you, and anyone in this situation.

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