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Review for Cats At the Studios Inc, Burbank, CA, USA

Rating: 3 stars  

What you need to know before adopting from Cats at the Studios:

1. VERY IMPORTANT: Although you have paid to adopt your little one-- you DO NOT OWN YOUR CAT! YOUR CAT IS MORE "BORROWED" - the Adoption in NEVER FINALIZED!

Cats at the Studios by their contract, co-owns your cat. The organization, with seemingly good intentions, says it will take your cat back, if necessary, and will keep following up with you, as well as continues for the lifetime of your cat to be allowed to make home visits. (Think about : do you want to be a "co-owner" - where you are listed as the 3RD PARTY in line as the contact on the microchip? Cats at the Studios is first, the foster parent is second and you, the Adopting Parent are THIRD. $125 - 200 later you are THIRD on the list as an owner. - I.e. vet bills - you have to pay for the services - but Cats at the Studios and the Foster Parent, by contract, are the primary decision - makers. So, they could cost you a lot in expensive surgeries, or medications, if needed, to keep your cat alive - money you don't have.

2. CATS IN THE STUDIOS CAN TAKE YOUR LITTLE ONE AWAY FROM YOU IF THEY FEEL LIKE IT: Cats in the Studios has the right to take your little one away from you - after you have bonded - for any reason it considers a "breach of contract" - or if your cat happens to go outside, or if you declaw your cat. ("Declawing" is a bad idea in general - claw caps are available, and grooming claws is fairly easy to keep these short.) Keep in mind if your little one gets sick, and the vet is suggesting either very expensive medical procedures or medicines, or to euthanize your cats - Cats at the Studios could over-rule you and you could lose your cat - so you are not with your little family member during their end times. For some, this may seem like a good thing, but if you really really love you cat and this medical crisis is tearing you up inside, the last thing you need is for some organization to come in and re-claim "their cat" since they are still the primary owner of 'your' cat for the life of your cat.

3. You have to surrender your rights to sue Cats at the Studios for any reason.

4. You are agreeing to never declaw your new family member.

5. Your little one will be an indoor cat, and have ID on a break-away or elastic collar.

6. Take your little one to the vet immediately it he or she stops eating or has behavior problems indicating a health problem.

7. Willingness to raise your little one, not transfer your little one or responsibility for a period which may be as long as 20 years. You can't "transfer ownership" anyway - as you don't own your cat!

8. That you are committing to agree to euthanizing your little one humanly if he/ she becomes incurably ill. (No matter what your religious beliefs are on this point - and you and your vet say your cat can be kept "comfortable" to the end.)

9. An "unsuitable cat" or "ill cat" can be exchanged within 30 days.

10. In spite of the fact you are told it is a "donation" - Cats at the Studios prices the adoption fees - not based on what their expenses are for a cat - but by the breed, or age, and how much they think they can 'get' for the cat. In my opinion, this makes it a "Sale" not a "donation". The IRS has a policy about "quid pro quo" - so I strongly suspect the "donation" is NOT tax deductible as represented.

11. If you are a 20-something, the foster parents state Cats at the Studios will not let you adopt no matter what. They don't think you are stable enough to commit.

Bottom line, Cats at the Studios is the oldest and does have a good reputation in the area. Just be clear that you a) may or may not be able to keep your cat after you have adopted if Cats at the Studios wants your cat back, and b) this may or may not be a "donation".

Lastly, if you do want to adopt from this charity, have a lot of patience and tolerance for the Founder who is on site on adoption days. She seems to love her cats very much and this charity is her "life". But does she have people skills...not so much. On a bad day in a matter of hours, I've watched her be so abrasive she seems to have cost the organization several adoptions and got in a near verbal fight with one man who seemed well-qualified to adopt. She's best left in the office, in my opinion.

The foster parents on site are very nice. The question is - in the long run - "who" will you have to deal with? If it's the Founder -- well - call or see her on a day when you aren't feeling emotionally sensitive. Or - maybe she is better in the office with less chaos going on around her. She can be really rude in public. Seems to mean well - but her primary relationship is with cats, and she admitted it.

There are many cat rescue groups in the Greater LA area- you may want to check with others. See who you have the best relationship with, with the staff as you may need their advice later, and starting out, as it may be an ongoing relationship. To me, the ongoing relationship should be "offered" not demanded /required.

You may find other groups 'let your adoption be finalized'.

RATING: Overall rating - varies from day to day. Cats in the Studios is committed to their cause. It does save lives of many cats.

MET MY EXPECTATIONS: No. I want to adopt and love my cat - not feel like a long term foster mom - stuck with the vet bills, but next to no vote on vet care - and be concerned that some day they'll be a knock on my door and I'll lose my little family member. For me, that is a nightmare scenario!

I don't like how they discriminate against some breeds and have lower adoption fees for them. Vets don't charge more for cats that look closer to purebreds. For me, all cats are equal as Soul.

My initial impressions? Founder needs to be in the background. She's too close to it, it seems, to realize she is hurting the cause, or at least is hurting it as its public face.

MEETS MANY PEOPLE'S EXPECTATIONS: Maybe. Read the fine print in their contract.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

an adoption day

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Encourage the Founder to step aside or be in the background. Change their contract - let adoptions be finalized. Set a "suggested donation" that is high enough to cover the organization's average costs for a cat in their care up for adoption - not base it on breed, age, or gender. Set a time limit for monitoring the placement, and just offer to 'be there' if the new owner needs support -not demand it. Too controlling - feels like a shared custody agreement. Allow the foster parents to be the public face.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?


How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?


What is unique about this organization?

Adoptions are NOT finalized. Very controlling contract. Adoptions are some of the highest adoption fees of all rescue agencies. Demands up to a 20 year - life of cat - relationship with you as the 3RD position owner of the cat. Founder / Lead of organization is a challenge to deal with, on first meeting.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Professional with expertise in this field & watch and observe.