By: Robin Desmet – Nov. 2017nokill2

Because I trap and rescue cats, people will often tell me that they can nolonger keep their own cat(s) and ask if I can rehome them. Well, the short answer is, “No. I cannot.” Believe it or not, everyone I know already has a cat or three. I always suggest that if they can no longer care for their animals that they bring them to the MSPCA and surrender them so that they can be re-homed. This suggestion is often met with shock and dismay and the following statement: “I don’t want them to kill my cat.”

Let me set the record straight. The MSPCA is not going to kill your cat. If it was a pet at your house, it can be rehomed and it will become a pet at someone else’s house. “But they are not a no-kill shelter” is what I frequently hear next. Okay, this is true. They are not a no-kill shelter. They are an open admission shelter. What is the difference?

In a no-kill shelter, animals are not killed to make room for other animals, and euthanasia is reserved for animals that are terminally ill or dangerous. I am entirely in favor of no-kill, but some no-kill shelters face criticism because they get to choose which animals they admit. Critics claim they choose the most desirable animals in order to keep euthanasia rates low. Also, most no-kill shelters handle a limited number of animals.

An open admission shelter like the MSPCA does not get to pick and choose which animals they take in. Animals are not turned away because they are too old or sick or because they are not a desirable breed.

So, if the MSPCA accepts all these animals, doesn’t it mean that if the animal is not adopted in a certain number of days, then it will be euthanized? What if the animal is sick or needs surgery? Does the MSPCA euthanize these sick animals to make room for the healthier ones?

The answer is no. Unlike the many high-kill shelters that abound, the MSPCA does not euthanize animals due to space or time. If it takes 6 months or a year for a cat to get adopted, then it will remain in a foster home or at the shelter until a home is found. As for health, the MSPCA goes to extraordinary lengths to save the lives of the animals that come their way. Euthanasia is not used as a tool to cull the population or to get rid of the sick animals. It is used only as a last resort when the only other choice is a life of suffering or if the animal is too dangerous to be adopted. In short, the MSPCA is not a no-kill shelter, but it manages to operate like one with an adoption rate over 90%.

Unfortunately, this does not mean that all shelters operate in this fashion. Sadly, there is a huge problem of overpopulation of animals and thousands of animals are killed in shelters across the United States every day.

Overall, if you have to re-home your pet, please know that your animal will be better off at the MSPCA than on the streets. Although the MSPCA is not a “no-kill” shelter, rest assured that your pet will be treated humanely and compassionately, and will receive all the care it needs until a new home is found.