It is for this reason why we do not often “reserve” our rescues. Of course once we have determined that ELM Cat Rescue is a great match for our potential adopter, we will invite you in to meet our “residents”. Then the magic happens. The cat or kitten that was wanted so badly, completely snubs his nose at the family, yet another rescue begs for their attention. The family is persistent in trying engage their rescue of choice while the other rescue is following a family member around, meowing, purring, and reaching up their leg just begging to be held. The family member will then pick the little girl up, and their eyes will meet. It's love at first sight. Suddenly, that rescue they thought was the one for them, the one they just had to have, has momentarily lost their interest as this little girl purrs up a storm and gazes at each of her new family members one by one, with adoring eyes. The new parents look at the little boy they had wanted to adopt so badly and see he has actually lost all interest and has gone to sleep on his favourite chair. The new family looks at the the little girl that already knows she is going home that very day, and they sigh. They look into her eyes, so calm, so loving, and so full of hope. They put her down and walk over to the little boy and pick him up. He immediately resists and jumps out of their arms and runs off. The little girl patiently sits at the feet of her new “mama” and when her mama looks down at her, she gives the sweetest little meow. Her purr is loud enough now that even from her being seated on the floor, the whole family can hear her. Mama looks up from the little one and looks at the rest of her family, except they aren't looking at mama, they are all looking at the sweet ball of fur at mama’s feet. Everyone is smiling. The decision has been made and the new family brings home a little girl instead of the little boy they had their hearts set upon, and they are all over the moon happy.
On other occasions we may be asked to “reserve” a week old kitten. As much as we'd love to guarantee a family “first pick” or “choice of the litter”, we regret we are unable to do so for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons being that a rescue kitten’s health is unknown. Knowing nothing about the mother, if she's ever had any vaccinations, or if she is the carrier of uncertain diseases, we clearly cannot offer this. Sadly we have seen our fair share of unexpected losses in kittens for varying reasons, sometimes we aren't even able to have the peace of mind knowing why a little one suddenly passed away. We are also aware that each and every kitten has a different personality. Some may be more independent than others, some may be more timid. Some may not like dogs or may be afraid of young children. It is for this very reason that we do what we do. We wait. At 7 days old, we have an uncertain future for our little rescues, little rescues that will yet show us their personality. We take great pride in pairing our rescues up with the right family dynamic. This ensures our rescues will have a forever home and our adopters will have a more pleasant experience with a cat or kitten that will thrive and blossom in their home.
Because our rescues come with unknown histories and backgrounds we do tend to be a bit “picky” about our adoption process and will at times decline a potential adopter simply because we don't feel our rescue(s) would fit into their family dynamic. We are happy to refer them to another reputable rescue or offer suggestions on where to find the type of rescue they are searching for. This is not always appreciated by potential adopters and it's taken personally. We would like to encourage our friends to understand we will always put our rescues first. We will adopt out our rescues into families where they will thrive, we will not adopt out our rescues simply because they are wanted. ELM is a rescue, a shelter, a sanctuary of sorts. To adopt out one of our rescues simply because they are “wanted” could be a huge disservice to them and in fact cause them more trauma and grief had we not adopted the rescue to a family THEY need.
So yes, we will say no from time to time as we know our rescues extremely well by the time they are at the adoption phase. We won't do a “first come first serve” or “reserve” any of our rescues as we need to do what's best for them, and of course, their new family. This doesn't mean we wouldn't be happy to pair you with another rescue that would be better suited for your family dynamic. At times it's appreciated and our adopters are grateful for it. Other times, well, let's just say we've had some potential adopters who have been upset with our adoption process. When this happens, it actually reassures us that we made the right decision.
We have the luxury of being a small rescue. We are in no hurry at all to adopt out our kittens or cats. They have a warm, safe home with food, water, and of course, loving arms. They are our family. So as each and every one of our fur-babies are adopted, we don't say goodbye. We gain a new family and most often, some very good friends.