Do we love our pets any less if they are free, or at a reduced fee?
Hands up who had a free pet as a child?
Growing up, I had a menagerie of pets who made their way into my home (and my heart) without any money ever changing hands. There was Tiger, a tiny tuxedo kitten who was born under the pub my dad used to frequent. Tiger was brought home in a cardboard box, and quickly became a treasured part of the family. He was loved his whole long life, until he passed away aged 15, under the nectarine tree in our backyard.
Tiger was the first in a long line of ‘free’ cats (mostly strays who decided to stay), not to mention our dogs Bo, Snoopy and Sunshine, all of whom made their way into our lives without any financial outlay - even Sam the mouse was free!
All of these pets were loved, cherished and cared for. Though they have all long passed, to this day my family still gets teary talking about these remarkable furry family members, and how much joy they brought to our lives.
So, did any of us love our pets any less because they were free? Nope!
And reassuringly, research shows pets that are adopted for free, or at a reduced fee, aren’t loved or valued any less than pets with a higher price tag. Nor are they any more likely to be relinquished.
What a free or reduced-fee adoption promotion DOES do is get people to adopt NOW. It’s a marketing tool that can be used to strategically boost adoptions at a particular time. And the same adoption procedures apply — so rescue groups and shelters can match prospective adopters with suitable pets as per usual.
Some people equate love with money - but we know love is love. We also know that kitten season is fast approaching and, the more adult cats we can help to find a home now, the more room there’ll be in shelters and foster homes to help more mums and bubs in need of care this spring.
Read more about the research on reduced fee and free adoptions here.