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Old 03-24-2009, 09:42 AM   #1
Amber
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Default The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

Spring is here, and with Spring come signs and ads for free kittens. They are so cute, so cuddly and free is such a good price. But before you jump up and run down the street to grab one up think long and hard about what you are getting into.

There is no such thing as a free kitten (or puppy, or any animal really). Free kittens come with hidden costs.
With a free kitten you may have no idea of what kind of health this kitten is in. What may look like a mellow sweet kitten may actually be a rather sickly, and you end up with major vet bills shortly after bringing him home. Chances are with a free kitten, things like deworming (most kittens and puppies are born with roundworms), shots or testing for Feline Leukemia have not been done. Many “free” kittens are weaned early which can lead to health and behavior issues.

So what do you do if you want a kitten? A much better option is to check with your local pet shelter, they have animals of all ages, kitten to adult. Now they are going to charge a fee to adopt a pet, so why should you pay for a kitten when you can get one “free” down the block?

*Not all shelters have the same policies, but most shelters will test for Feline Leukemia, deworm them and start them on vaccines.

*Shelter pets are generally free from mites, ticks and fleas.

*Many shelters microchip the animal before they leave, which is a great tool for reuniting with your pet if they get lost. The cost of microchipping at a shelter vs vet is considerably lower.

*Most shelters are committed to preventing more unwanted animals, and will either spay/neuter your pet before adoption or give you a coupon for free or deeply discounted spay/neuter when the pet is old enough. (For more on the importance of this, please read this thread)

*Shelter pets are often already potty/litter trained!

*Your adoption fees not only cover the cost of services for your pet, but also help to keep a vitally important service available for the many other unwanted animals who have noplace else to go.

*And best of all, adopting from the shelter means you are saving that pets life.


All of this saves you money, as the adoption fee is still cheaper than what it would cost to have it all done at the vet’s office.
No matter where you get a pet, there are always going to be costs associated with it. Whether you get a kitten from the neighbor down the street, a shelter or a breeder they will still need food, toys, a litter box and vet care.

Breakdown showing the actual cost of a “free” kitten vs. a shelter-rescued kitten:
http://www.geocities.com/home4thecat...reekitten.html

Locate a shelter in your area:
(US) http://www.animalshelter.org/shelters/states.asp
(Canada) http://www.animalshelter.org/shelters/canada.asp

Locate and support a no-kill shelter in your area:
(International) http://fluffynet.com/no-kill-shelters/
(US) http://www.saveourstrays.com/no-kill.htm

Note: We are not advocating that non-shelter kittens should be forgotten just that the more people who responsibly adopt (which generally includes spaying/neutering) and help to financially support shelters in their area, the greater the chances are of reducing the number of neglected and overpopulating "street" kitties.
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Old 03-24-2009, 05:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

Thanks for the reminder.

The only "free kittens" that have been good pets for us came from friends where we knew the situation. My mom's fre kitten is a 10 year old nightmare and always has been. My rescued older kitten has been a wonderful companion for years
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Old 03-24-2009, 06:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

Good reminder.
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Old 03-24-2009, 07:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

thanks for posting this.
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

Good points. And folks should also stop getting rabbits just for Easter and instead get a bunny toy.
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

Great post. I always tell people to budget $1,000 for the first year they have their new kitty/puppy. If there's not enough wiggle room in the budget for that, you can't afford a new little friend, free or not. 'Free' is such a misnomer.
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synesthesia
Good points. And folks should also stop getting rabbits just for Easter and instead get a bunny toy.
I don't know if it's still going on now, but, growing up the rage around Easter was to get a bunny or baby chick.
My mom used to hate that because the cuteness of a bunny or chick soon left as the critter grew up.....
they just wasn't "that cute" anymore and the novelity wore off.

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Old 03-25-2009, 06:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

this is so important...thanks for reminding everyone.
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Old 03-25-2009, 07:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber
A much better option is to check with your local pet shelter, they have animals of all ages, kitten to adult.
You're really making a bit of a stretch here. Better? There are pros and cons either way. Knowing what those are will allow each family to make the right choice for their situation. There's no given morally superior choice here.

Free kittens generally wind up AT the shelter if they don't find a home directly. Or they wind up abandoned or...gotten rid of. So taking one of these animals into your home, you're very likely saving that pet's life just as surely as you are from a shelter.
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Old 03-25-2009, 07:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

But, you still need to be careful, and understand what you are getting into. The first pet we adopted from the Humane Society died within a few weeks (from something it was born with), and the second (which we still have) is diabetic (to be fair, they didn't know, since she was pre-diabetic then, but it was found that she was diabetic within weeks). Pets from actual shelters (the pound) seemed to work out a lot better for us. Always remember that "free" isn't "free", and anything could happen.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:32 AM   #11
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

Why spring?
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:38 AM   #12
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuliana
Why spring?
Because that's generally when intact cats and dogs start wandering around looking for partners Shelters actually refer to it as "kitten" season, and it lasts from the start of warm weather to early fall/winter.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:43 AM   #13
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

Quote:
Originally Posted by domesticzookeeper
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuliana
Why spring?
Because that's generally when intact cats and dogs start wandering around looking for partners Shelters actually refer to it as "kitten" season, and it lasts from the start of warm weather to early fall/winter.
Wow I didn't know that.
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:24 AM   #14
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

We have a dog that my husband got from a husky rescue nine years ago. She's the best dog in the world and he didn't have to go through that puppy stage of peeing on everything and chewing up stuff. (I know, I must sound terrible, but I prefer older dogs.) Her vet bills are about $400 a year for all of her shots. Then, she gets an upset tummy or an allergy. We actually got pet insurance and pay about $50/ month. She eats a ton and we buy her treats, too. She's a great part of the family, but she isn't free! We've thought about adopting another dog, but can't do the expense right now, even if the adoption is free.
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:19 PM   #15
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Default Re: The Myth of the Free Kitten/Puppy

We generally got to our county's pound (which requires proof of immunizations and spay/neuter within a certain time frame from the adoption or risk citation). This spring, we wanted a puppy but our County pound has been having a Parvo problem. We adopted a farm puppy from a friend instead. Our other doggie came from our pound 3.5 years ago and she's been a terrific pet. The new puppy was actually in part to remind our doggie that she is part of a pack which includes us. She was ecoming reclusive and refusing to come inside. Not anymore, she's quite content with her companion as are all the kids.
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