In Texas, the overpopulation of homeless animals is staggering and Texas euthanizes more animals every year than any other state in the country except California.
It seems like everybody is trying to give away FREE KITTENS or FREE PUPPIES. You see people on the Walmart parking lot with a sign for FREE KITTENS or FREE PUPPIES and a box full of babies they are trying to get rid of. You see signs in the yards of houses when driving down the roads, and you see people on Facebook offering FREE KITTENS or FREE PUPPIES.
Unfortunately, this practice lowers the perceived value of healthy, fully vetted animals who are waiting in shelters to be adopted — or euthanized. It also tends to drive shelter and rescue adoption fees downward.
While lower adoptions fees may be good for the adoptor, lower adoption fees place an enormous financial burden on the shelters and rescues to generate funds required to provide their services. They must offset the actual cost of preparing an animal for adoption with other sources of revenue when their adoption fees are lower than the costs they incurred.
Responsible shelters and rescues will have invested significant time and money into providing the very best care and vetting for their animals before placing an animal with a new owner.
When an animal has been raised healthily and fully vetted before adoption, then a new owner can enjoy their new pet without worrying about the time-consuming hassles and expensive trips to the vet and medical care that all animals need. The shelters and rescues have already done the hard work for a new owner and whatever their adoption fee amount, it is unlikely to be much as their investment in the animal prior to its adoption.
The Kitten Lady has published the informative video above about why FREE KITTENS are NOT a good thing. Substitute the words “FREE PUPPIES” and the message and reasoning apply equally well.
Responsible shelters and rescues employ a professional process for adoptions. They require an adoption application and they have a review and approval process, some even require a home inspection visit prior to placing an animal with an adopter, they charge adoption fees, and they require a contract with an adoptor that clarifies the new owner's responsibilities regarding their new pet.
Most shelters, rescues, and sanctuaries (including those associated with the Humane Society) are nonprofit organizations and they charge adoption fees ranging from about $50 to $100, but they have typically invested $500+ in raising a kitten to adoption age and assuring it is in good health and fully vetted before adoption.
These non-profit entities seek to make up the difference in the amount they actually spend preparing an animal for adoption ($500+) and the smaller amount they receive from their adoption fees ($50 to $100) by acquiring donations, grants, sponsors, municipal support, and other funding that supports their mission.
TXCAT.ORG is NOT a 501(c)(3) non-profit and has no supplemental sources of funding except non-tax deductible contributions or sponsorships received from generous animal lovers and good samaritan sponsors.
A TXCAT.ORG adoption fee is typically equal to the amount of the vet bill and/or other costs incurred to prepare the kitten or cat for adoption.
We simply do not have the resources to cover all the expenses for all the cats that come under our care and then transfer ownership of them to new owners without recovering some of the costs involved.
TXCAT.ORG provides each adopter with a copy of each animal's vet bill for reference and the adoption fee is typically the amount of the vet bill.
TXCAT.ORG wants our adopted kittens and cats to only be placed with owners who have adequate means to provide for them and care for them.
Quite frankly, if a potential adopter cannot afford an adoption fee equal to the typical cost of vet services and other costs of feeding and caring for an animal, then that person probably should not adopt a pet.
However, the TXCAT.ORG fee may also vary depending on which procedures and/or treatments have already been completed on the kitten or cat at the time of adoption and/or based upon other arrangements made with the adopter.
For example, an adopter may agree to also temporarily foster another cat or kitten so that their new pet has a playmate and companion while it gets acclimated to its new environment. This is a GREAT arrangement for a new pet and these generous adopters/fosters may be provided an option to adopt the second animal later on for a reduced adoption fee or no adoption fee depending on how long they have fostered the 2nd animal before deciding to adopt it also.
When you see a FREE KITTENS or FREE PUPPIES sign, consider following the Kitten Ladies lead and be a good samaritan and an animal advocate. Take a moment to have a conversation with the person about the origin of the animals and if applicable perhaps offer to sponsor a spay or neuter for them if they cannot afford it. A single spay or neuter can save 100 cat lives.
Know that your adoption fee helps the shelter, rescue or sanctuary to continue the work to care for another animal and the fee amount is probably far less than they have invested in the pet you are adopting. Consider adding a donation to your adoption fee and you'll be helping to save even more Texas Cat lives.