The Lethbridge PAW Society, the rescue-group of which I am part, received an inquiry about Kola a couple of weeks ago. I am fostering that floofy mancat in the hopes that someone will choose him to live with forever, and this call was the sort of thing we wait for. However, the woman interested in Kola lives in Seattle, in the United States. That’s not a bad thing, but it does involve distance.
I am wary of any long-distance adoption now, following the unfortunate and abortive adoption of Cammie, earlier this year. The trouble with distances and adoptions is that if something goes wrong and the person wants to return the cat, that person may not consider the distance to travel worth the trouble; the cat may be handed off to someone else or put in a shelter. If faced with a returned cat, the PAW Society will do anything to make certain the cat comes back to it, rather than go elsewhere.
Even with these dangers, a long-distance adoption isn’t always a problem. Many of the rescuers whose blogs I read have had happy experiences, giving homeless cats wonderful families who live far away. Indeed, the PAW Society has, as it was pointed out to me, had cats adopted by people who then moved to distant locations. And certainly, Kola is one cat who has almost nothing that could initiate misgivings in a new adopter. His hygiene is excellent, he is not a fussy eater, he is friendly and playful, and has no trouble with other cats.
So what was my concern?
The person interested in Kola was very specific about what she wanted in a cat. Again, this is rarely a problem. Everyone who has adopted a cat has had certain qualities they would like to find in a new pet, though many of us are willing to forego most of them, especially when we find what an appealing little beast we’ve ended up with. There is nothing wrong with wanting particular qualities in a cat. After all, a person will be, hopefully, living with that cat for the rest of its life.
But the specificity of this person’s requests, combined with the distance, gave me some anxiety. I worried that if a person were exacting in what she wanted in a cat, she would be exacting in its fulfillment of her expectations. While a cat - or dog or person, or car or home - may check off all the boxes on a list, the situation may evolve differently in person. And when Kola was in person in Seattle, he would be hundreds of miles from everyone he knew.
The rescue-group shared my concerns yet, like me, they wanted the Floof King to have his chance. If his destiny lie half-way around the world, then he should go half-way around the world. But the worries remained, thanks to the memory of Cammie’s unhappy sojourn in Regina. As it turned out, Kola did not have one of the qualities that his prospective new person wanted. He is not a lap-cat; not yet, anyway. He is friendly and hurries over to urge me to pet him. He enjoys attention and seeks it out. He lies beside me to receive it. But he is not a lap-cat. He may be some day, perhaps soon. When he first came to stay with me, he didn’t like lying next to me. And with a different person, he may be on a lap immediately. Who can say? But the woman in Seattle wanted that characteristic right away.
What if Kola were a lap-cat yet, when he arrived at his new home, he would have nothing to do with laps? Cats are like that. Would he have been unwanted as quickly as the woman unwanted him when she heard by telephone that he didn’t care for laps?
So Kola remains with me in foster-care for the time being. But he is a very adoptable cat, and even long-distance homes are not out of the question with this furry boy. All he needs is someone who realises that the cat they get may surprise them with qualities that will make them laugh and smile, grind their teeth, keep them up at night, boast to their friends, shake their heads… In other words, all the things one gets from a member of one’s family.