Staff and volunteers of the Elmbrook Humane Society will be blogging about what's going on at the society, as well as other observations about life in Wisconsin.
The mission of the Elmbrook Humane Society is to promote the human-animal bond through adoption and education, to provide shelter to homeless animals, and to prevent animal cruelty and neglect. EBHS services the city of Brookfield, the villages of Butler, Chenequa, Elm Grove and Nashotah, and the towns of Brookfield and Delafield. EBHS shelters unwanted pets and strays, and rescues injured domestic animals and wildlife, provides resources for individuals with companion animals and provides Humane Education to schools and civic groups.
Visit our web site at www.EBHS.org.
Recently, a cat made national news (on CNN to Regis and Kelly) from a local shelter in the state of New Jersey. I think everyone heard about this cat, not because it was a stray, but, because it weighed in at 44 pounds. Which, for a cat, is a lot. My dog is only 30 pounds. The suitcase I brought on my flight home was under 44 pounds.
What really amazed me about this situation was not that this cat was grossly overweight (so much so that they initially thought it was a female because the fat covered his naughty bits), not that he was 10 years old, and certainly not his average markings or personality, but that over 500 people applied to adopt this cat. Even people from England had contacted this shelter to adopt the cat. I could not get over it. Five-hundred people. 5-0-0 people. For one cat! Who is 10 years old, and in serious need of a diet! People can be pretty grumpy on a diet, I imagine a cat on a diet is no picnic to live with.
I have a shelter full of cats and kittens, who are all unique and special individuals. Some with amazing markings. Some with fun personalities. Some young, some old. Some were even brought here as strays and victims of the economy (like Mr. 44 pounds). Yet, they linger here for months at a time waiting for a new home.
Sadly, the part of the story that did not make the news is that not one of the 500 people that applied to adopt this cat offered to take home one of the more than 200 other cats and kittens that were housed in this very same shelter at the time. The shelter said that they had to euthanize about 1/3 of the approximately 1000 cats they take in every year.
Since we are located in Wisconsin, I cannot get our cats booked onto Live with Regis and Kelly. I thought about creating a fat suit, or making a cardboard cutout of the fat cat and having their photos taken to look like they were enormous so that people might be interested in them. I do not know what I can do to make our cats more appealing to adopters. In fact, our cats are pretty darn appealing all on their own!
My time here at the shelter has taught me that people find cats pretty easy to part with. Certainly we see all kinds of animals surrendered here for many reasons, but cats really seem to be the ones people can walk in and say "He is 12 years old, and a wonderful cat, but I would like to travel now, so you should find him a nice home" or "Yes, they are 10 and 11 years old, but I am pregnant now, so I should not have a cat anymore". When we ask for a donation at the time of the animal being surrendered we get people that will respond "I will let him out on the side of the road before I give you money to take him. You are just going to make money on his adoption, so why should I give you anything?".
We have so many cats and kittens at the shelter at the moment, we have cut our adoption fees in half to help get them adopted. They are no less valuable to us. It is just that we want people to be able to use the money they save on making sure their new best friend gets the best food, and necessities to get them started on the right paw in their new family.
Even though our cats were not on TV, and none of them are grossly overweight, they are all celebrities to the staff and volunteers here. More than anything else, we want them to find great families that will always love them and give them a home forever - not just when it is convenient, or when it provides 15 minutes of fame.