Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sterilisation before adoption

A caregiver adopted a cat out to someone a few months ago. At first things went well, the adopter sent photos of the cats. However the caregiver reminded the adopter to get the cats sterilised, and things went downhill from there. The adopter said that she would do it but much later in the year, the caregiver of course was worried in case the cat might get pregnant.

At any rate, it turned quite ugly with the adopter saying that she was going to report the caregiver to the HDB for owning cats if she continued to SMS or email her. This of course would only hurt the cats - and obviously the adopter lives in an HDB flat as well, meaning SHE isn't allowed to own cats either technically.

The sad thing is that when cats are adopted out, despite contracts signed, it can be very difficult to get the cats sterilised. Sure, you could try and go to court to ask for specific performance and get the cat sterilised, but it would be a hassle.

It is a real shame that the cats cannot be sterilised BEFORE they are adopted out. This would really make things a lot easier - plus you would never need to worry about an adopter changing their mind and deciding to breed the cats. Unfortunately, early age spay/neuter is still not done here by most vets - until that changes, this problem is going to continue. Two cats adopted unsterilised producing say another 8 cats, and so on and so forth, does NOT help the problem of overpopulation, especially if these cats get dumped.

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17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please to all fosterers, sterlize the cats before adopting them out. Honestly no paper or document the adopter sign promising to do this and that is of any use. In fact to me I find its just rubbish. Action speaks louder than words and seriously what can you do if you meet an adopter who just refuses to sterlize despite promises made? Sad to say alot of people adopt for the wrong reason and some thick nut cases just refuse to listen to reason.

4/12/07 10:17 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

The problem is that cats once past 5-6 months (when vets here will normally sterilise) often aren't in such great demand. People want 'cute' kittens - and as such, they go into adoptive homes, unsterilised.

4/12/07 10:24 AM  
Anonymous suzanna said...

Actually if all cats available for adoption, are past 5-6 mths, i.e. sterilized, then there's nothing to compare.

5-6 mths cats are still cute and adorable and I think their temperament would be more stable at that time.

4/12/07 10:53 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

The problem is that most people feel otherwise - ie they want kittens. Some people have written in to ask for newborns - though when you ask them if they're prepared to bottlefeed they quickly backtrack.

Unfortunately if you look at the board, you'll see the kittens get snapped up first and the 5-6 month old cats have a harder time finding a home.

4/12/07 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This makes me think then if these people insist only on kittens, is it a good idea to even let them adopt the kittens then. After all, we have heard of so many cases of cats dumped in the streets when they start to lose their cuteness and begin scratching the sofa etc. Rather than pamper to these clueless owners, might as well educate them. I myself adopted my cat from a fosterer that insisted her cats can only be adopted after 6 months of age. No requests for "CUTE" kittens entertained.

I dont think making the cats more "attractive" by marketing them off as cute young kittens is going to save them getting kicked out once they lose that cuteness.

4/12/07 11:20 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - some people have the mistaken impression that the younger the cat is, the easier it is to 'bond' with the cat - not necessarily because of cuteness.

I'm glad the person who adopted to you was able to be firm about it - however not everyone can or will hold the cats that long. Furthermore, some will hold the cats and then find no one will adopt them and the foster is stuck.

That's why it's still MOST important to try and rehome ONLY the younger cats/too friendly cats that are less likely to survive on the streets. There just aren't enough homes - if one foster is particular, there will be another who cannot afford to be - and that's just because there are too many cats out there. The rest of the cats should be left where they are and sterilised.

4/12/07 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this kind of nonsense needs Dawn to get them back to their senses, get it sterilise and don't sabotage one another. No point giving a homeless cat a home and behave like enemies to each other.
Please love one another.

4/12/07 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been volunteering at adoptions for 4 yrs. Most 4-8 weeks old kittens are generally adopted in 2-3 weeks - even the black and calico kittens. Once the kittens are over 4-5 mths - they are hardly requested as there are many younger kittens being posted for adoption weekly. It is ideal to adopt a kitten out after sterilisation - but only if 1)you are able to "hold" the kitten indefinitely & 2)an understanding adopter would request for the kitten.
If you have an adult cat for adoption, be prepared for a 6-mth wait.
It is not easy to change the adopters' mindset. We have been trying to advise adopters esp PRs and expats to adopt adult cats of good temperament/low maintenance to give these cats a few good years - long term fostering - we have little success.
Most want long-tailed exotic-cross kittens. I suppose everyone has their preferences. There are the cats' needs (preferably to be adopted sterilised) and the adopters' expectations (young, cute and pretty) and these two do not meet.

Yes, i do have adopters asking for new-borns - preferably vaccinated, dewormed and sterilised & preferably with certificates to prove that they are : ) Not joking.

4/12/07 2:55 PM  
Blogger Aminah Bee said...

Are our vets inexperienced or just unwilling to do early age sterilisation? I approached several vets here in Singapore, none of them wanted to do early age sterilisation for kittens. In USA, vets willing to do early age sterilisation.
It is easier bring in feral kittens for early age sterilisation when they can be captured easily, then wait until they reach maturity age of 6 months, then we need to do time-consuming task of trapping.

There's also no need to hassle with adoptees if our kittens already sterilised.

Do you think AVA can ask the board of Vets in Singapore to do early age sterilisation?

Sterilisation help to reduce the over-population of stray cats.

4/12/07 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our 4 mth female kitten's deformed hind leg needed to be amputated as it bled often. We asked the vet if he would sterilise the kitten at the same time - he did.

4/12/07 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it would be good if we can sterilize the cats before they get adopted. point is, most adopters want kittens. and from my personal painful experience, it is not advisable to sterilize kittens if they are less than 6months old. i understand that many american vets have mentioned and even, advocate that kittens can be sterilized at as young as 3months old. i have also read all the articles that supports sterilization at 3months old. and i have done so to a few kittens and this is one of the biggest regret that i have to face in my dedication to helping street cats. NEVER sterilize any kittens unless they are 6months or older. Those that i sterilized at 3-4months (i did 5 after being convinced by "proper" papers recommending young-age sterilization) have resulted in the following :
1. The kitten's phyical growth is compromised.
2. The kitten is very weak after sterilization.
3. The kitten is weak after it becomes an adult.
4. All the 5 kittens i did (in Singapore) turned out to be very weak, small-sized and unhealthy. The only common factor they have is that they were all sterilized before 6months old.
I am very regretful to have chosen to sterilized these poor kittens at less than 6 months. Now that i think back and use some common sense, why would I even think of sterilizing a kitten as young as 3-4months??!! even if the many best kindest american vet have their hearts out for the exploding stray population! I am just so glad that there are still many vets with common sense here who will refuse to sterilze any kitten less than 6 months old.

5/12/07 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi aminah. i understand where you're coming from. i also share your thoughts and concerns. in fact, i think that you are one of the most wonderful contributors in this blogsite and i haev always admired your thoughts and still do. in fact, i was like you wrt to young age sterilization unless my own real experience. Really, it is really really not wise to advocate for too young age sterilization. 6months old more than young enough. it is very very terrible for the kitten (although they do in america but sometimes, let's just let them be 'that's them'.) i pray that the board of vets here and other vets here will never join some of the american counterparts to ok less-than-6-months-old sterilization. sometimes, the old school works better. please don't even suggest this to the AVA. (you know them, so many other real things to do, they don't do. when it comes to some other matters, they will do. AVA is many times, just a hell-hole for stray cats.)

5/12/07 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

by the way, i have read all the articles i was given with regards to 'young age sterilization'. i have also researched further on my own before making the decision to sterilized those kittens less than 6 months old. I TRULY REGRETTED. after this message, i believe there will many many reactions and replies which i don't do not intend to follow-up. I JUST WANT TO URGE THOSE PEOPLE WHO'S THINKING OF YOUNG-AGE- STERILIZATION NOT, NOT TO DO SO. please find other alternatives. thank you.

5/12/07 12:32 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous hi - I'm sorry to hear about your bad experiences. Studies have actually shown the opposite though, that cats grow LONGER and are healthier when sterilised younger than 6 months. One reason that makes sense to me is this - when you put an older cat under anesthesia, its much harder to find the woman, the older it is, usually because the cat has a lot more fat.

On the other hand, it's much easier to find the womb in a younger cat - and the cat is under anesthesia for a shorter time, which obviously is good for the cat.

Having helped out at earlier Spay Days at the vets I noticed that the younger cats recover a lot quicker - we did a younger kitten at one of the vets and it was awake and alert a lot faster than the older cats.

I personally have cats done under 6 months and they're doing well. I however have had cats done at 6 months, and some of them may not be as healthy. I don't think we can surmise that sterilisation over 6 months is therefore worse for them - there are a LOT of other factors that influence a cat's health.

I would say also say that it's important to look at sample size - while personally it's very sad when you have kittens that aren't doing so well, and you know them yourself, the studies have been done on thousands of cats over ten years - not five cats. This would probably be more reflective of what generally is the case.

Bear in mind also that many cats here go on heat before 6 months. There are benefits to sterilising before a cat goes on its first heat and clearly if we stick to 6 months and the cats are going on heat before that, those cats lose those benefits.

What they've also found was that there was no reason for 6 months - ie no scientific evidence to back up why 6 months and not say 7 or 3 months. It seems to have just been an arbitrary number that someone picked and is used as a custom.

5/12/07 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will never sterilise young kittens unless they are 5 month old. Sure you can sterilise them younger but kittens are fragile.

A responsible adopter would sterilise and fee should be collected prior to handover. Do not do free adoption. If they make an issue of sterilisation fee, dump the adopter. They don't respect and appreciate your work.

5/12/07 12:41 PM  
Blogger Aminah Bee said...

Anonymous - thanks for your comments especially the one mentioning my name, contents of which I had noted.

5/12/07 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi aminah, thanks for your kind understanding and dawn, thanks for sharing. let's continue to be of good courage to one another for the cats (and all animals) of the world unite.

5/12/07 11:32 PM  

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