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Hello, Kitty: Rescuing Strays

It's springtime, so more kittens and puppies are being left out on the streets. Here's what to do if you find a stray or a new furry friend.
2012-05-22 10:52:02

Rescuing an Abandoned Animal

We’ve all heard the small, sad meeeow of a kitty sitting on the doorstep, looking up at you with its big eyes, begging you to take it in and love it. Or at least feed it. So what do you do?

Marvin Manalac from Jaiya's Animal Rescue (JAR), a local non-profit group, cautions us that any animal you rescue is your own responsibility. Do not pick up a cat and take it into your home unless you’re prepared to make it your own or find it a home yourself. There are animal charities in Shanghai, but they are inundated with abandoned strays. They try to help as many as they can, but don’t expect them or anyone else to take an animal off your hands.

If you have rescued an animal and then decide you can’t keep it, there aren’t any pet shelters in Shanghai but there are a few pet rescue organizations that might be able to help. Due to a lack of foster parents and funds there’s no guarantee that they’ll take in an animal you’ve rescued, but they might still be able to help you adopt it out. However, every case is decided individually, based on available resources and the health of the animal.

Before any of them agree to help, you’re going to have to keep the animal for a while –- a few weeks at least -- so it can be determined whether the animal is a sociable, healthy cat or dog. During this time you’ll have to take it for a health check and vaccinations. According to local veterinarians PAW, it will cost about 240rmb for a health check and 320rmb for vaccinations. Note that kittens under nine weeks old cannot be vaccinated so you’ll have to keep the cat until it's old enough to have its shots.

Then you have to decide if you can keep it or need to find it a home. If you do need help finding it a home, some local organizations may be able to help. JAR focuses on the rescue, foster and adoption of dogs, but right now they’re not taking in any rescues because they’re overstretched. Second Chance Animal Aid (SCAA) mainly helps out with cats, but to take one in they accept a donation of 500rmb. Shanghai Small Animal Protection Association (SSAPA) will board both cats and dogs – which means you pay them a monthly fee for them to shelter the animal – 150rmb for cats and 200-500rmb a month for dogs, depending on its size. Their website has been down for a while but this is their Facebook page. Paw Pals Animal Rescue (PPAR) will board your rescued cat for 300rmb a month. Their website is in Chinese, but here's an article about their process in English.

All these organizations will then try to find permanent loving homes for pets, or a foster family that will look after it until a permanent home is found. While all this is going on, you may be liable for additional medical fees if the animals need treatment.

Fostering an Animal

If you can't commit to permanently adopting a pet, there’s a nice middle ground. Both JAR and SCAA are always looking for foster parents to care for rescued animals until they find permanent homes. You can't be too picky about what cat or dog you get because it depends on what's been rescued, but to the best of their knowledge all of the animals sent to foster parents are healthy and sociable animals.

There’s no set time commitment for fostering and it can be as short as a few weeks while the regular foster parents are vacationing, up to a few months or however long it takes to find the cat or dog a permanent home.

When you become a foster parent you'll be required to take care of the pet as if it's your own. However, part of the deal is that you'll give the animal every chance to get adopted. This means taking it along to monthly adoption events where families come to find pets. Of course, you’ll also have to make sure the pet stays healthy and take it to the vet if it needs any treatment, though some organizations offer a little financial assistance if your fostered pet needs expensive veterinary care.

After adoptive parents have been found, you have to give up the animal. It might be difficult to do this, but you can always take in another rescued animal to foster, and bask in the knowledge that you’re helping the cat or dog live in a loving family environment while it's waiting to find a permanent home.

Those interested in fostering just need to fill out a simple form so the organization can find an animal that's suitable for your household -- so they won’t send you a big dog that’ll bulldoze your small child. If you want to foster a dog you'll have more luck filling out JAR’s form because SCAA is no longer keeping an active network of doggy foster parents. SCAA is the place to go to foster cats. Here's their form.

Adopting an Animal

If you’ve decided you can’t call Shanghai home without a pet then save our streets from smelling like cat pee by adopting through an animal rescue organization. Don’t buy your pet from a pet store. We all know it just encourages a trade that sees tiny animals locked up in unfair conditions. If you’re still unconvinced, read what SCAA has to say about buying from pet shops here.

Before you decide to adopt, make sure you are willing to take your pet home with you if you repatriate. With some countries, such as Australia, it's impossible to bring pets into the country. Conversely, Americans, with planning, can make the move quite easily by packing the small dog or cat as carry-on luggage.

To adopt a fixed, healthy cat or dog from SCAA costs 500rmb. You can find all the information and forms here. To adopt from JAR there's a suggested donation of 300rmb. Head here to find out everything you need about that. To adopt cats from PPAR, email them. They’ll expect some type of donation when it’s done but there’s no set fee. SSAPA doesn’t charge anything to adopt an animal. Email them or contact them through their Facebook page.

This is one of the dogs that JAR has at the moment, waiting to be adopted. If you're willing to give it a permanent home, hit the link above.

Alternatively, head to any of the adoption days below to take a look at some animals and talk about your options with the relevant organizations. Remember that adoption is a big commitment and the new pet should be considered a family member. If you’re ready, head to any of these upcoming Adoption day Events:

Every Saturday and Sunday
PPAR's pet adoption day at the PPAR Shelter

June 3
JAR's adoption day at Papa's Bierstube

June 10
SCAA’s pet adoption day at O'Malleys

June 24
SSAPA's adoption day at Pourquoi Pet Cafe

Thanks to Kim "Olivepixel" Laughton for the pictures of the white cat he rescued in Shanghai. Other pictures are of Aggie, Charlie Mao, Frankenstein Jay Chinawondercat, PhD, Col. Stanley Lucious Chinawondercat III (Ret.), Dr. Fountain Fauntleroy Chinawondercat, M.D., all cats rescued by SmartShanghai staff. Cats rule...