How do we care for cats and kittens?
Take a behind-the-scenes look at the For Kitty’s Sake Adoption Center, located inside the Mantua PetSmart, including the adoption process, our volunteer and foster screening procedures, and how we care for cats when they’re with us.
Let’s start with the basics.
Where do we get the cats?
We generally work with local animal shelters, specifically in Gloucester County and Camden County, but will take in a cat or kitten from any shelter or rescue that we partner with to help them get adopted.
Are all the cats strays?
This is a common misconception. Although a lot of cats and kittens are strays that have been picked up by Animal Control, some have been:
- Picked up because of an unsafe living environment
- Surrendered because their owners were affected by difficult financial or personal circumstances, have moved and can no longer keep the cat(s), or just didn’t want a cat anymore
- Adopted by us or another rescue and it didn’t work out, sometimes by things out of the owner’s control, such as allergies
So, now that we’ve got the cats, what happens?
We take them to the vet for a wellness visit! This can include things from just a check up to:
- Spay/Neuter surgery
- Rabies & Distemper vaccines
- Feline Leukemia and FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) testing
- Flea and Tick treatment
- Treatment for common infections, such as Upper Respiratory Infections, eye infections, etc.
Every cat or kitten that gets adopted out through For Kitty’s Sake has been spayed or neutered, received their rabies and distemper vaccines, been tested for FeLV and FIV, and been microchipped.
During the time that a cat or kitten is recovering from surgeries or being medicated, they’re placed in one of our foster homes. Foster families keep our cats isolated in their homes and provide more care and attention than we would sometimes be able to in the Adoption Center. The foster family is responsible for making sure all the right medications are administered and the cat is on the road to recovery so they can be adopted out.
Can just anyone be a foster?
No. We have a strict screening process for our trusted foster families, which includes reference checks, vet record review, and home visits.
Fosters will also take in any cat who becomes sick while at the Adoption Center. No matter how comprehensive our health program is, or how often we are cleaning and sanitizing (more on that later), cats, like humans, are bound to get sick occasionally. When that happens, we isolate and treat the sick animals as soon as possible.
Finally, foster families will also take in a cat or kitten that has been in our Adoption Center for an extended period. This is beneficial so the cat can be in a home environment and “reset” from being surrounded by other cats, have more space to move around, and get more one-on-one time with humans.
Where do volunteers come in?
The volunteers with For Kitty’s Sake are also screened before they can come work with us. Volunteers must be over the age of 18 and have gone through at least 2 training sessions with our Volunteer Coordinator. All new volunteers are scheduled with a veteran volunteer while they “learn the ropes”.
We have volunteers come to our Adoption Center twice a day, seven days a week. If the store is closed due to a holiday or extreme weather condition, veteran volunteers will work with the store management to get access to the store to ensure the cats are cared for. Volunteers will also go in before the Adoption Center opens, and often stay after it’s closed to make sure the cats have everything they will need until the next volunteer can come in.
Volunteers give fresh food and water throughout their time in the Adoption Center, empty and sanitize litter boxes as they are used, sweep the floors, clean the crates, sanitize toys, and mop on a regular basis. We also have a strict crate-cleaning policy to ensure the well-being of the cats. Our crates get fully sanitized when a cat gets adopted out, before a new one comes in, and when a cat in our care becomes sick and must go to foster care.
Our space is designed and donated by PetSmart Charities. We make sure that all cats get plenty of playtime outside of the crates so they can stretch their legs and meet and play with fellow cats.
Our volunteers make sure the cats and kittens are well-socialized with humans and other cats by playing with the cats using strings, laser pointers, balls, and toys that have been made and donated by local children. Our volunteers also brush, pet, give head scratches, administer medication if needed, and learn the personalities of the cats so we can match you with the best fit for your family.
The Adoption Process
For Kitty’s Sake has a thorough adoption process to ensure the pet you’ve chosen is the right fit for you, and you’re the right fit for them. Our application processing time can take anywhere from 2-5 business days, but sometimes longer depending on how many applications we have to process.
No one can enter our Adoption Center unless they’ve filled out an application. You can fill out an adoption application in-store or online at www.forkittyssake.org/application. Our Adoption Coordinator will review the application, contact your vet and references, and contact you to go over the application.
While you’re in the Adoption Center meeting with the cats, our volunteers may go over your application with you as well. This is so we can make sure that the cat is a good match for your home and will make you and your cat happy for many years to come. Our volunteers will be able to suggest a cat if you’re looking for a certain personality with insight into your lifestyle, time the pet will spend alone most days, the type of home you have, additional pets you might have, etc., as well as go over valuable information about the cat’s medical history and habits.
If you’re approved to adopt a cat, our Adoption Coordinator will schedule the adoption with you, and go over the adoption fee, required vet check-up, and any questions you might have.
The Adoption Fee
Our adoption fee is a direct 100% donation to our organization. The adoption fees help to cover medical care costs, as well as food, litter, and toys for our foster cats. Our organization wouldn’t be able to operate without this support.
It’s finally gotcha day!
It’s the day every cat dreams of – going home!
When it’s adoption day, our Adoption Coordinator will be in contact with the volunteers scheduled that night so they can begin filling out all the necessary paperwork – we know you’re excited and don’t want to make you wait any longer.
When a cat goes home with you, you’ll receive:
- All medical information we have on file, including rabies and spay/ neuter certificates
- Microchip information
- A coupon book with a free bag of food that we’re currently feeding the cats in our care
- Two copies of our Adoption Contract
Our volunteers will review the contract with you during signing. They will also answer any questions you might have thought of between speaking with our Adoption Coordinator and picking up your new family member. This can include feeding schedules, nail clipping, what microchipping is, etc. Don’t worry – this can be an overwhelming time because of the excitement, but if you have any questions after the adoption, you can always call, email, or stop in the store to ask. We want to make sure that you have everything you need to successfully integrate your new addition into your home.
Once you sign all the paperwork, buy anything you might need, and pay the adoption fee, it’s picture time! If you allow us to, we’ll take a picture of this momentous occasion and share it on our social media.
We encourage everyone to follow/like us on social media so they let us know how their new family member is doing. We love and care for the cats before they’re in your lives, and want to know how happy they are!
If you have any questions about the care and treatment of our cats, want to support For Kitty’s Sake, or become a foster or volunteer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – We’d love to hear from you.