Can you take my cat? This is by far the most frequently asked question -- and unfortunately the answer is almost always no. Because I have a shelter, people often think that I can accept just one more cat, but the adoption rate is far too slow to accommodate the flood of requests.
Here's what you have to do: If your cat isn't already spayed, get it done right away. You should also make sure she's up to date on her shots. Make fliers with a photo of her and whatever information you feel is pertinent. Include as many positive things about the cat as you can. Then post the fliers everywhere -- not just at your vet's office and pet food supplier, but anywhere there's a public bulletin board. When people call, ask if they've had a cat before and find out what happened to it. If they've never had a cat, ask why they want one now. (You don't want them to tell you the last cat ran away or that they want a cat because they saw a mouse.) Ask if they intend to let her go outside. If they do, don't give her to them! Make it clear that if the adoption isn't working out you want the cat returned to you, not passed along. You should also request a fee. Why? I once had a person tell me, when I asked whether she'd taken her previous cat to the vet when it became ill, "Why should I spend money on it when I got it for nothing?" 'Nuff said? You will place your cat much faster than any shelter can: you only have one to show and people who call you will have seen her picture and already been attracted to her. She will show much better in your home than in a shelter environment.
I've found a stray and cannot bring it in. What should I do? If the stray is feral (unapproachable) you need to borrow a live trap, catch it, get it neutered and put it back where it's been living. It is not a suitable candidate for adoption and neither you nor a shelter will be able to place it. If the stray is friendly, it must be taken indoors. Get a large plastic carrier -- big enough to hold a small litter box, food and water dishes and the cat. Use it as a temporary cage until you can get the necessary veterinary work (neutering, vaccinations, testing, parasite control) done and find the cat a home. (See above.)
I can't afford to do all that! Where can I get low cost veterinary help? Both the ASPCA and the CACC have neutering vans. If you dial 311 you can be connected with these agencies and find out when and where the vans will be available.
My cat is lost. Do you have him? Not unless you live on my block. Here are some suggestions: Quite a few years ago a cat went missing in my area and fliers went up offering $100 to the finder. Everybody wanted that $100! And one of them found the cat. If you haven't already done so, contact the CACC and give them a description of your cat. If he's been found -- especially if he's hurt -- knowing that you're looking for him can save his life. Chances are he's very close to home; cats don't wander far. Have you been going out late at night or early in the morning and calling to him and rattling food when the streets are quiet? Have you asked your neighbors for permission to look in the shrubbery in their yards, in their basements if a window has been left open? If any apartment buildings are on the block, supers sometimes open a basement door to take out the trash and close it again not realizing that a cat has darted in. Is there any way he may have been able to climb up to a rooftop? If he's been injured he may have gone into hiding and be very hard to find; let's hope he isn't.
None of the above means that you shouldn't contact me. Please do! I can (at the very least) give you more specific advice -- and sometimes I even have room to help out by accepting a cat! All I ask is that you try all other options first. And understand that I often have to say no. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org Brooklyn, NY, USA