Why a Surrender is a "Surrender"
SFR has recently received inquiries from a few of the newer local area rescues regarding fosters. Like us, they are foster based and do not have a shelter. They asked “how do we deal with people that want to get rid of their cat but don’t want to send it to us unless they can go check out the foster home?” We’ve been trying to figure that one out for a while now too.
We understand that when you can’t keep your cat you might worry about what might happen to it, but when you surrender your cat, you might have to do it on faith. Some fosters wouldn't mind if they had the time to prepare and people could come on their schedule and if they are brave enough to accept that not everyone showing up at their home to scope things out is going to have good intentions. Unfortunately we have none with that much faith in humanity, and most people who foster have lives and most have little interest in letting strangers snoop thru their homes. Not all people surrendering cats are sweet honest people. When I used to keep rescue cats here and let people bring them to my house I caught people looking in my dresser drawers, medicine cabinet, barging into my sons room, and digging around in closets (she thought she heard a kitten). I no longer keep rescue cats in my apartment unless they need nursing care.
Fosters have families, landlords, jobs and a lot going on and are very generously making time and space to help us save animals. When we sign on a new foster they are required to fill out an application, and we make sure that they have good references, a good relationship with a vet, and we do a home visit to make sure that the cats we send there will have a good place to live. We know what kind of place our cats go because we see it every time we take them an animal or pick one up. As we drop cats off and pick them up, often with short notice, we know if things are not good. One of the things that these people expect from us in return is privacy and that includes not giving out their personal information. We have to respect that. I don’t want people giving out my address either. And none of these people wants judgmental strangers snooping thru their home when we need a cat fostered, and they don’t want to take time off work to be there, or interrupt their daily routine. We don’t blame them. They were already willing to be checked out when they volunteered to work with us and are willing to be inspected if the USDA demands it. We have to meet all the requirements for the safety and care of the animals we take in as we are the ones ultimately responsible so we pick our fosters with great care. We can’t expect these people to do more than they areas then we risk losing our fosters. Without our fosters we can’t save cats.
The same goes for our colonies. Because of privacy laws we can’t give out people’s addresses, and the caregivers for our colonies don’t want people showing up on their property to dump off cats, visit cats or shoot cats (yes we did have that happen when someone gave the colony location to a couple drunks in a bar).
If you are going to surrender a cat to a foster based rescue then make sure it’s a group that you trust enough to be comfortable with that you will know your cat will be cared for as best they can. Get references, talk to them and talk to their vet clinic. If not comfortable, get a friend to take the cat, or find the cat a new home yourself and hope for the best, make sure you get references and and check them, and charge for the cat so it wont end up as fighting dog bait or in a research lab, or find a group that does have a shelter you can inspect, but eventually that cat will be adopted out and you wont be able to go inspect the new owners home as their information will be confidential too.