There are many reasons why some people cannot keep their pets. Among them, there are reasons that cannot simply be dismissed and that sometimes even can be quite tragic. Some of them are:
- severe allergies
- business or professional circumstances causing long absences from home which prevent people from keeping pets
- cats that are incompatible with small children living in the household
- medical reasons: after certain transplantations some hospitals do not discharge patients home if they have pets.
However, often there are reasons that we have difficulties understanding or that we don’t understand at all. These are a few examples:
- not interested anymore, the pet is boring, too old, too small, too big
- no friends or acquaintances who could take care of the pet during holidays
- cost for food is too high
- cat doesn’t use the litter box
- undesired behaviour of the cat.
We don’t judge owners who give away their cats for these reasons. For us, the well-being of the animal is most important. Therefore, we take in these cats and thus prevent them from being abandoned or from spending their lives as an unloved pet.
Precondition for accepting them in our shelter is that we have a suitable place in one of our cat groups. Even if our capacities are not always fully utilized, we will only take a cat if we can care for it it in a way that is responsible towards human and pet.
Of course we only accept cats that pose no health risk to other cats, which is why they need to be examined by a vet beforehand. And finally, the owner has to confirm his ownership, hand over the documents (vaccination booklet etc.) and sign a written contract.
In order to surrender the cat to us, the former owner pays a fee of 70 € and additionally takes the cat to the vet for an examination which usually includes a blood test to ensure that no contagious diseases will be transmitted.
If you are scared off by the fee and the costs e.g. for the medical examination bear in mind that other animal shelters no longer take in animals for free either. Considering the actual costs for us, the fee is symbolic.
In our shelter, all cats live in groups. Putting together the groups is a delicate task.
In every room, we have large cat aviaries. They are meant for newcomers because in the beginning we don’t know how they will get along with the other cats in their group. The aviary gives them a secure place to retreat during the first hours or days while they can still see and smell the other cats.
Once a newcomer has settled in, the doors of the aviaries always remain open.
Often, it’s necessary to socialize the cats. These days, many cats are unfortunately kept alone. Therefore, some animals have never learnt adequate social cat behaviour or they have forgotten it. By mixing groups we try to gently help them with relearning how to socialize with other cats.
We feed – as far as possible and feasible – species-appropriate canned cat food. This means that we serve wet food that is made from meat approved for human consumption:
- at least 70% meat
- specified animal by-products (heart, liver, kidney etc.) in a reasonable proportion to muscle meat
- free from
o flavour enhancers
o undesired by-products like full intestines, bone meal, dried and shredded cadavers etc.
o old oil, sewage sludge
o fats of doubtful origin
Many new cats refuse such food because they simply don’t know it. Step by step, we will acquaint them with it and slowly change the food. In most cases, such a change of diet is a success.
Life in the shelter
Right from the beginning, we try to get to know each cat individually. We note down characteristic behaviour, how they behave around men, women, children or other cats. We play and we cuddle. Sometimes, two cats form a deep friendship. In those cases, we will only re-home them together. Once the cat has settled in and got acquainted with us and the shelter, they can be rehomed.
Getting to know prospective adopters
People interested in adopting one or several cats contact us and come visit the shelter after prior arrangement.
We recommend that people visit more than once in order to get the chance to really get to know the cats. After two or three visits, it often becomes clear where mutual interest exists. We only agree to an adoption if the chosen pets show affection for their potential new guardian.
We place great importance on the adoption being a permanent success. In order to ensure that, we do a lot of groundwork beforehand and openly and transparently inform the prospective adopters of the history of each cat, tell them what we know of the animal’s character traits and how we assess their behaviour. Of course we are also interested in the ideas of the prospective adopters.
People who are in a hurry are knocking on the wrong door.
If you are seriously interested, please fill in the form providing information regarding your living conditions and answering other questions.
The home visit
Before you can adopt one of our cats, we will visit you and see if you can provide an animal-friendly home for the cat. This includes the usual paraphernalia like cat tree or scratching post, litter box, sleeping and feeding area. We advise you on poisonous plants, the risk of potential accidents and injuries in your household and recommend food and litter.
We do not re-home our cats into flats with a balcony that is not cat-safe.
It’s a persistent rumour that cats don’t fall off balconies. It’s also a rumour that cats always fall onto their feet and won’t get injured. Quite on the contrary: veterinarian practices are full of cats with internal injuries, broken limbs and torn organs that were caused by such an accident. In this regard, we don’t make any exceptions.
We conclude a contract with you and you will pay an adoption fee. Depending on the age and race of the cat, the fee will be between 150 and 250 €. By signing the contract, the cat will legally become your possession but not yet your property.
The formal property rights will transfer to you after a period of 6 months. During this time, we will make another home visit.
The adoption fee doesn’t reflect the costs incurred by our association. It contributes to covering the costs of the association only in a small way. These costs exceed the sum of the adoption fee many times over.
It’s not a purchase price but rather a proportional share of the costs.
Please stay home on the day of re-homing. We don’t want the cat to associate the stress of transport with you. Usually, there will be two of us coming to bring you your new family member (or your new family members). We will stay for a few minutes and then leave you alone to give you a chance to get to know each other in your new surroundings.
Feedback and follow-up calls
Our work doesn’t end with the adoption. For one, we will carry out one more home call. However, we will always be available for advice as well. In cases of strange behaviour, illness, if you move house or if you need any other kind of advice, we will be there for you.
We are happy to get feedback from you, small anecdotes and photos that we can publish on our website.