By: Robin Desmet – August, 2017
When I hear this statement I can’t help but cringe. My reply is always the same—“There is no such thing as a free kitten.” My statement is often met with doubt or displeasure. Then I usually hear a story about how so and so’s neighbor’s cat had kittens and they gave the kittens away for free. I hate to ask, but I always do: “Where are the kittens now?” Well, one of them died, one got out of the house and got lost, and the third one went to a cousin who gave it away to a friend…..and so on. More cringing on my part.
I don’t doubt that you can get a kitten for free, but is it really “free?” When you consider the cost of vaccinating and getting your kitten spayed or neutered, you are well over $300. Add to this the cost of food, cat litter, and supplies, and you are way beyond free. Not to mention the basic fact that at some point your pet will invariably get sick or hurt and will require veterinary care. When you get a pet, you need to be prepared for the costs of your pet’s ongoing care and medical expenses. None of this will be free.
When I trap feral kittens in backyards and alleys, someone walking by may see a kitten in my trap. Oftentimes they will say “I’ll take that kitten.” When I mention that the kitten needs to go straight to the vet they will usually ask why. I’ll point to the eyes—crusted over and swollen shut. The kitten will need an antibiotic. It also needs to be dewormed, vaccinated, and of course spayed or neutered. None of this is free.
Quite often things that are obtained for free are not considered valuable. It can be hard to turn down an offer of something free, even if you don’t want it. Free kittens are often treated as disposable pets. They are an impulse item. They are passed around from house to house, and when they turn a year old they have committed the ultimate crime—growing up. They end up on the streets, in shelters, or with people who don’t really want them.
People often complain that the kittens at animal shelters cost money. Aren’t they trying to get rid of them? Shouldn’t they be free?
Well, that kitten has been tested for diseases so you can be sure you are taking home a healthy animal. It has been vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed or neutered. It has spent many weeks in foster care which requires food, cat litter, and quite frequently, medication. All of which is paid for by the shelter. That kitten may have suffered an injury or required extensive veterinary care before being put up for adoption. All of this costs money. The fee you pay to adopt a kitten is very small compared to the time, effort, and costs that have gone into raising the kitten up to this point.
If you are in the market for a free kitten, why not consider adopting a fee-waived cat from the MSPCA? Unlike the free kitten you get from your neighbor, a fee waived cat has been vetted and has already been tested for diseases and received all of its vaccinations.
Bringing home a new kitten is a rewarding and exciting experience. Bringing home a healthy kitten that is already spayed or neutered and is free of worms and fleas?