Hand over the money, but you can't see the cat
I just received a call from someone who was quite worried as she had heard about some people offering a service to take in cats for a fee but that afterwards, the person giving up the cats was not allowed to see the cats again. She suspected that the people offering this might be up to no good.
I asked if she knew anyone personally who might have availed themselves of this so that we could speak with them, but unfortunately she did not. She mentioned that some people were probably quite relieved to pay a sum and have the cats boarded, and after that probably did not make an attempt to find out what had happened to the cats.
If someone IS taking the cats and is doing nefarious to them, they really ought to be ashamed of themselves because they're preying on both people AND cats. It may also be illegal - or at the very least, a breach of contract, since the person is giving the cat up in the expectation that it will be well looked after. However, the only people who can really stop it are the people who are parting with cash and giving the cats up int he first place.
There's a saying that my grandmother used to say - that there aren't big ducks jumping across the road for the taking. In other words, if something looks too good to be true - it probably is. If someone is offering to take a cat off your hands for a sum, do the sums work out? If you're giving even say $10000, that's $1000 a year for a 10 year life span - is that going to cover food, litter and most importantly medication? If the cat is sick, and the bill is in excess of that, what happens to the cat?
In addition, if someone tells you that you cannot see the cat again you should immediately be suspicious. If they are taking care of the cat, and you are paying for it to be looked after properly, then clearly you want to know that the cat is fine. Any reasonable person would let you come and see the cat - most would in fact welcome it because it shows you care for the cat. On their part, they know that they're doing a good job and aren't worried to let you see the cat (if the person is a particularly difficult client of course, it may be slightly different - and in which case I think most boarding providers would probably just ask the client to take the cat home). I certainly would not be comfortable handing a cat over with no expectation of ever being allowed to see it again if I am paying for it and have been reasonable in my dealings all along.