In his four years at Gifford, Shelter Manager Eric Royal has had to explain to numerous potential adopters that Gifford does not adopt out cats as gifts. There are many reasons cats, and pets of any type, do not make appropriate presents. For Gifford, Eric explains that Gifford’s adopter application process includes a need to approve the person who will be the financial provider and medical decision maker before sending a cat to a new home. The application process includes interviews with the potential adopter and several references.
These are just the administrative reasons for not allowing cats to be adopted as gifts. Animals who are adopted as gifts or presents frequently end up back in shelters after the recipient decides he or she was not in reality prepared for the responsibilities associated with being a pet parent. Gifford makes certain to screen applicants to ensure that each cat who passes through the doors ends up in their true forever home.
Recently, Sophie had the lucky opportunity to the be first cat Eric has arranged to be adopted as a “surprise” for Adam’s fiancée, Amanda. Sophie came into Gifford as a surrender due to alleged behavioral issues she was having in the home. Based upon the description provided by her previous owner, Eric did not even feel she would be a good fit with Gifford. Fortunately, Board Vice President Dr. Rachel Geller further investigated the issues and found that Sophie was not the problem in the home.
Sophie was said to not be litter trained, but after looking into her prior home, Rachel discovered the real issue – one litter box for multiple cats, along with a dog who frequently disturbed the litter box. Especially with multiple cats in a home, it always important to have multiple litter boxes and to keep the litter boxes away from dogs and other pets who will make the litter box too stressful for the cat to use.
The surrendering owner also said she had tried to give Sophie away to a friend, but Sophie was returned after she spent the night crying and in distress at the change of surroundings. This is not uncommon when cats are put into new environments away from their family.
Fortunately for Sophie, Rachel saw past these issues, realizing Sophie was a wonderful cat, and brought Sophie into Gifford where she met Amanda who would immediately fall absolutely in love with her. Amanda had filled out an application to become an approved adopter when she saw Sophie’s picture online for the first time, but she had not heard back whether or not she had been approved. Amanda went into the shelter the Sunday after Sophie arrived and knew immediately that this soft, cuddly beauty was the one for her.
Amanda grew up in a family that always included cats. She had not had a cat since living with her parents, but she remembered well the blue-eyed cats who shared her childhood with her. Amanda was drawn to Sophie’s beautiful blue eyes, but Sophie’s sweet personality ultimately sealed the deal for her.
The day after meeting Sophie, Amanda grew nervous since she had not heard back about her application, so her fiancé, Adam, called Gifford to follow up and submitted his own application to adopt Sophie. At the time, Amanda did not know that Adam had submitted his own application, and after it had been approved, Adam approached Eric about surprising Amanda with Sophie.
For the first time in four years, Eric said yes to a request to arrange a surprise adoption. He knew both Amanda and Adam were excellent candidates for adoption, and that it was abundantly clear Amanda was prepared to bring Sophie into her life. Amanda was then told that Sophie was on hold for another previously approved adopter, and she was heartbroken. Sophie had stolen her heart, and she could not believe she would not be bringing her home.
About two days later, although it felt like weeks to Amanda, Adam surprised her with cat toys and a card which was signed “Love Sophie and Adam.” Sophie became the perfect Christmas surprise for Amanda! Amanda was over the moon to be bringing Sophie home, but she was concerned about both she and Adam traveling over Christmas to be with their respective families and the stress that would cause Sophie.
Amanda discussed her concerns with the staff at Gifford, and Sophie was able to remain at Gifford until shortly after Christmas and make just one final move to her forever home rather than travel for the Holidays. It was difficult for Amanda to not bring Sophie home immediately, but she checked in with her each day on the kitty-cams. She was also able to watch on the kitty-cams when Adam went to pick up Sophie just after Christmas.
Sophie went right to Adam when he came to get her, despite having never met him before! Sophie has settled well into her forever home and has no behavioral issues at all. Amanda reported that Sophie uses her litter box, does not scratch inappropriately, and just loves being brushed. Sophie is such a joy to have in the home, and she even tolerated a bath to keep her long fur healthy. Amanda ended up cutting her own Holiday travel short to enjoy a few days at home with Sophie before returning to work.
Amanda appreciated the patience and understanding everyone at Gifford afforded her throughout the adoption process. She felt that they really cared about Sophie and wanted to help her find the perfect home and make the transition as stress-free as possible for her!
By Sarah Eckert