Thoughts on Adoption
thinking of adding an animal to your household, please consider
adopting one. Some of the animals we foster have survived
trauma, abuse, or neglect, and desperately need a home where theyll
be loved and appreciated. Even though we no longer have our own foster animals to adopt out, we think information about adoption is important to share. Here's how our program worked.
Visit our Meet
the Animals page.
of the advantages of our in-home FosterCare Program is that we live with our animals 24 hours a day, seven
days a week. Weve
seen them at their best and worst. We understand that each animal
is an individual with a unique combination of attributes and needs.
advantage of our program is that each animal’s health has
been evaluated. Our cats have been screened for Feline Leukemia
(FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Our dogs have
been screened for heartworms. Everyone gets screened for internal
parasites and treated, if necessary. Cats and dogs are current on vaccinations, and spay/neutered according to age.
third advantage is that each animal comes with a coupon for a
free “Getting to Know You” Animal
Communication Consultation with local animal communicator,
Sondy Kaska, who is also a JCHS member. Helping your new companion
adjust to a new home is in everyone’s best interest.
exploring a new home, getting to know a new human, or becoming friends
with other animals are exciting, even
positive changes produces stress. Learning about your animal companion’s
fears, concerns, and past experiences paves a smoother transition
fee was $120 per animal. This amount can be reduced under certain
circumstances which were evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
beyond what it costs to keep them in our homes, on average,
each foster animal incurs about $140-worth of veterinary care
(viral screening, parasite screening/treatment, vaccinations,
spay/neuter, etc.). Adoption fees offset our veterinary bills.
For us to continue providing first-rate animal care as a nonprofit
organization, we depend entirely upon public support.
to Share Your Life?
If you are
considering acquiring a companion animal, ask yourself the following
your lease or housing situation legally allow you to keep a pet?
someone be home to provide meals for the animal according to a
every member of your household in agreement about acquiring a
(or will) your own schedule allow ample time to look after the
animal, train him appropriately, and consistently provide the
loving attention he requires?
considering a puppy or a kitten, are you prepared to spend the
time it takes to learn about and apply the appropriate age-specific
methods of socializing and training the animal requires before
she reaches adolescence?
you be able to pay for the food and pet-care supplies the animal
will need in maintenance of his well-being?
you willing and able to pay for all inoculations, periodic veterinary
examinations, and any emergency treatment which the animal will
considering a dog, are you willing to exercise her at least twice
a day, according to a set schedule?
you willing to obey the local community leash, licensing, and
you willing and able to pay for the cost of spaying/neutering
the animal to prevent the birth of more animals in a nation where
millions of healthy but unwanted cats and dogs are already being
destroyed each year?
you committed to caring for the animal throughout his entire lifetime
(which could easily span 15 years)?
you honestly answer YES to each of the questions above? Then chances are that your
lifestyle and level of commitment are such that you could be a
responsible caregiver and guardian. But dont
rush right out and get a pet. Give thoughtful consideration to
the limits of your living space and your personal preferences
as to species, size, gender, age, and attitude.
Once you have
an idea about the type and characteristics of the companion youre
1) Download and complete our Adoption Information form. (Feel free to copy
the text of the form into an e-mail message if you’d like
to type your responses, or just complete the form by hand.)
2) After you’ve completed it, send us an e-mail (with or without your typed responses) that contains your phone
number, to let us know you’re ready to talk.
3) An adoption counselor will contact
you within about 24 hours to discuss your responses (e.g.,
housing situation, personal preferences, attributes of current
pets, etc.) and establish whether we can identify a potential match for your household with one or more of our animals.
The Adoption Information Form is a PDF file. If you don’t already have Adobe’s Acrobat
download it for free.
adopting an animal takes time. You want an animal who fits as
seamlessly as possible into your family and lifestyle. That’s
what we want, too. The more flexible you are, the easier it will
be for us to make an appropriate match.
Our goal is to find the
best home for each individual animal, based on what we feel is
in the best interest of that particular animal.
is a volunteer organization. Most of our members work outside
the home and have their own animals, families, and foster animals
to care for on a daily basis.
Attention to detail is one of the reasons why the vast majority
of our adoptions are successful. Your patience is appreciated
as we review adoption information and do telephone interviews.
In addition, we may call references and conduct home visits.
You Aren’t Ready Yet
you answered NO to any of the questions, perhaps you aren’t ready. Please
put the needs of the animal ahead of your own desires. This may
not be the best time in your life to offer a home to a companion
animal. Unfortunately, many who give in to the immediate desire
to acquire a pet realize too late that they are unable to properly
and permanently care for it. This is evidenced in our community
by the astonishing number of animals abandoned each year.
In the meantime,
like to have the opportunity to interact with and learn more about
animals and responsible guardianship, consider joining the Johnson County Humane Society or volunteering your
time and services to helping animals at the Iowa
City Animal Care & Adoption Center (356-5295).
• License their pets!
Here are some reasons why:
The tags are identifiers
and are easily traced. A license increases the chances that
your animal will be returned if lost.
wish you had the minute your animal accidentally gets loose.)
escapee and ends up at the shelter, your reclaim fee will
be higher if your pet doesnt
already have a license.
get a license without a rabies certificate, licensing supports
public healthand the
revenues help other animals in need.
the appropriate vaccinations for their pets.
• Spay/neuter their
their companion animals indoors (cats and dogs simply do not get run over on the living room
leash, poop-scooping, and other local animal ordinances.
Your New Cat to Other...
If you need
to introduce a new animal to other animals, make sure your new
animal has been seen by a veterinarian to reduce the risk of
transmitting illnesses or parasites to your other animals.
to introductions is planning and patience. First impressions
are lasting and negative ones take time to neutralize. It’s
all about turf. The newbie is suddenly by himself in new territory
already inhabited by others. The current residents are suddenly
faced with a stranger trespassing in their territory.
Don't rush things! Your job
is to manipulate the physical environment to ensure everyone’s
safety. The outcome of this process is dependent upon the temperament
and ages of
the animals involved and your levels of patience and consistency. It
may take several weeks to a month for everyone to feel comfortable.
Do not give up, and don’t lose your cool.
In very, very rare
cases, you can simply let them work things out, and after a
week or so, things are fine. However, most introductions require
more time and are a process that has to be worked through. The
following procedure has worked well for us:
• Rub the
animals (newcomer/s and existing residents) down with a washcloth
soaked in cider vinegar. This will make everybody smell the
• Put the
new cat in her own room, with her own litter box and dishes.
(Adding a screened door to the room is a great short cut.) After
a day or so of this, put the new cat in her carrier, take her
out of the room and let the original pet/s smell and explore
the room thoroughly. Put the new cat back in. Keep repeating
until the original animals no longer excitedly sniff or hiss at everything.
the new cat out (in her carrier) to meet the original pet/s
under close supervision. There's bound to be some hissing, maybe
even spitting. Don’t chastise anyone for this—it’s
normal behavior among cats who are re-figuring their hierarchy.
Try to end these sessions on a quiet, positive note. Keep repeating
this until the hissing stops.
the new cat (in her carrier) about five feet from where the
other animals eat. Keep moving her carrier closer and closer.
• Sit quietly
with your new cat on your bed, leaving the door open to the
other animals. Have the new cat’s carrier and a big towel
(to throw at or envelope someone) close at hand. (Know that
where you sleep is a special/sacred place to your animals because
when asleep, you are vulnerable.) The first time, just sit quietly
for about five minutes and then return the new cat to her room.
• By now
your animals should be ready to be loose in the same room together
under close supervision (have that towel handy). Keep them separated
while you are not supervising until you’re certain they
get along and everyone has a safe “retreat” somewhere.
The length of time
and amount of supervision required can be modified as you discover
how the animals react to one another. Some forms of cat interaction
or play can appear hostile but in reality, are not.
to humane society studies, these are some combinations
of animals that tend to work well:
pair of mature neutered animals
older kitten and a puppy
Introducing a very
young animal to a household with an elderly animal already present
can be stressful to the older animal. The best way to handle
this is to make sure the older animal does not feel threatened
by the newcomer. Lavish attention on the older animal, not the
newcomer. Make sure the older animal has a cozy place to retreat
to, and undisturbed time to eat and relieve herself.
A puppy introduced
to a cat will quickly view her as another sort of dog and leave
her alone or, more often, want to play with her. The cat will
view the dog as a nuisance for some time, but will eventually
learn to ignore him or even to play with him.
Introducing a kitten
to an older dog will depend on the dog’s temperament.
Many dogs are good with cats, such as Labs or Newfies, and will
present few problems. Dogs
with high prey drives need to be taught to leave the kitten
Soon enough, the
kitten will be able to get up out of the dog’s reach when
he wants to be left alone. Providing the cat with a place the
dog can’t get to is always helpful. Place a childproof
gate in the door of a room high enough for the cat to get under
but not for the dog. Trim the cat’s claws to minimize
damage to the dog’s nose.