My boyfriend and I have been discussing adopting a kitten. Right now we live with his parents, who have two cats and a dog, but we'd love to have a cat that was just ours. I've had cats all my life and I realize they are a huge responsibility and adopting a cat is a really big decision. I also know that cats can live a long time and I want to be able to commit to caring for the cat its whole life. Basically, this is a huge decision, but we're 98% sure that we're adopting a kitten. We also wanted to compare cat sources (Humane Society vs. other animal welfare societies).
This weekend a cat adoption center in our city had an "adoption event". We decided to drive over and take a look at the cats and facilities and ask the staff a bunch of questions we had about the best cat to get, issues with introducing it to our other animals, etc. We're going on a short trip next weekend so it was possible that we'd bring home a kitten today if we really fell in love with one; otherwise we'd do it after we came back from the trip.
When we arrived at the center, we were the only customers (or, potential adoptive parents?) there. There were three staff members who seemed very friendly. Before we could enter the cat area we had to sign a relatively detailed form about other animals, living environment, our feelings on neutering/spaying/declawing, all sorts of things. I was a little hesitant to fill it out at first because I knew we might not be taking home a cat today, but the employee informed me, "it's not an obligation to adopt."
The area was clean and the cats were all very socialized, happy, healthy, and playful. Most of them came from litters from feral cats or were rescued from being euthanized from other shelters. We stayed for about an hour getting to know the cats and talking with the employees about potential problems, the sex of the kitten, different breeds, things like that.
Before we left, we were convinced that this was a place with clean, healthy, happy cats and we liked their philosophy, so we were satisfied and there was no need to investigate the humane society or other sources of kittens. Because we didn't really fall in love with one specific kitten, we decided to come back next week after our trip and pick one out then.
The staff had been helpful and chatty the whole time. As they saw we were getting ready to leave without a cat, the main lady (owner? director?) said in a pleasant voice, "Well, you've wasted both your and my time."
We were taken aback. She proceeded to explain that she could tell when we walked in the door that we weren't ready to adopt and scolded us that their center was NOT a kitten play area. She said they could only let people who were going to adopt a kitten that day into the cat area, and we had just wasted an hour of their time. She told us, "Come back when you're REALLY ready to adopt."
I didn't want to burn any bridges, and I wanted to be polite, so I tried make her understand our situation by explaining about our trip next weekend, saying we would be back, and telling her that we were pleased with the environment and it had not been a wasted trip for us.
Apparently the justification didn't work. She repeated for the third time that we had just wasted an hour of their time and that we needed to come back when we were SURE we were going to adopt a kitten. It put a bad spin on the whole visit and we left in a very defensive and negative mood.
I realize that one does not go to places like these just to play with cute fluffy things. I am serious about adopting a cat, but I will NOT be pressured into it and I will NOT be made to feel guilty about being a responsible consumer and doing what is best for the cat. I've rarely been made to feel so unwelcome anywhere.
tl:dr: Cat adoption center doesn't let you see the cats unless you commit to adopting immediately; tells us we "wasted their time" because we decided to wait until next week to adopt. Very unfriendly.
I know there's a lot of pet workers and volunteers in customers_suck, so if you guys are in this community too I'd appreciate hearing your take on this.