At C.L.A.W.S. we take home checking very seriously. We take great care to match our cats with their new families. We will only place a cat in a home where we would be happy for our own cat to live.
Home checkers need to be shrewd judges of character and have an in depth knowledge of the background and behaviour of the cat(s) up for adoption. Initially they go out with an experienced home checker on home visits before "going solo”.
A form is completed for each visit which covers topics such as the property – its closeness to the road, the suitability of the garden and the suitability of the area. It includes a section on the family – its size, age of any children and which members of the family work.
We discuss responsibility that ownership entails, the advisability of keeping the cat in at night, the need for a cat flap, the importance of vaccination and regular veterinary care.
We ask about any impending holidays and explain about the C.L.A.W.S. post homing follow up call.
The home checker then makes an assessment of the suitability of the family and discusses it with the trustees.
We are not looking for an immaculate show home. Our aim is a cosy place, away from main roads, with a garden in which our cats can sun themselves on a summer’s afternoon with owners who understand the importance of regular meals, annual vaccinations and lots of affection.
All C.L.A.W.S. cats are blood-tested, neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped flea’d and wormed. We do everything that we can to give our cats a good start in their new lives and the home check is an important part of this process.
Even after adoption it only takes a phone call and we are there to help.
We were very concerned to discover that some cat rescues, large and smalll, do not carry out home checks. One relied on talking to the prospective adopter on the telephone and going through a check list with them, another just had a chat with them.
In our opinion this puts the future happiness – and in some cases the life – of the cat at risk.
Does this constitute good animal welfare ? We don’t think so !