Beware of such adopters (Bruce is gone)

If you remember, Weiwen is the young rescuer who rescued and took care of (and did a great job, too) four baby kittens, whom she named Bruce, Donnie, Jet and Jackie. The last I heard from Weiwen, the four kittens were doing very well, and had even recovered from watery poop.  

Bruce was the strongest of the four.  

Weiwen wrote to me yesterday:

Feeling very upset today so I decided to email you. Last Saturday I finally gave my male kitten up for adoption to someone who contacted me via Petfinder. I told him that I wanted to wait until the kitten was older and weaned before releasing him but the adopter insisted that he was capable and had fed kittens before. After a week of pestering me, I made sure Bruce was well and healthy before driving all the way to the adopter’s place in Rawang to give Bruce (the kitten) to him. I noticed he already had a few cats already, the youngest being 6 weeks, another 3 months and another much older cat so I thought Bruce would be in safe hands. For two days I texted the adopter for updates but received no reply.

On Monday night he started smsing me saying that Bruce was not drinking and was getting weak and he didn’t know how to get him to drink. I advised him and told him everything I’ve learned and I told him that if necessary I was willing to drive all the way to Rawang (his place is about 2 and a half hours to and fro from my place), pick up Bruce, send him to the vet and I would take care and nurse Bruce until he was able to take kitten food before handing him back to the adopter. And I would cover all expenses.

But no, he ignores my offers and complains that Bruce bising-bising and tak nak minum. He keeps saying he loves Bruce so much but wants to wait and see. Bruce has been vomiting a few times also according to him. I don’t know what to do and worse he asks me why I did not give him all four kittens as shown on my pet profile. He can’t even take care of one and he wants four? I made him promise to take Bruce to the vet urgently and he keeps saying he will since yesterday but until now he hasn’t. Even right now I’m still texting him and he says he will try to bring Bruce to the vet and update me later. I feel so upset and I wish I didn’t give Bruce up so quickly.

What does one do in a situation like this? 🙁

I advised Weiwen to talk to the adopter and take Bruce back immediately.

And Weiwen tried, but….

I’ve told him all this every few hours for the past two days cos I almost had a similar experience with one of the other kittens but we managed to save her. But he refuses to let me take bruce back. He even asked when I will return him if I take him. I said when he gets well and I’ll wean him first but he refuses cos he thinks its too long! The guy, Hazwan says he’s feeling unwell himself and took half day off and he says he will take Bruce to the vet. I’ve been calling every 20 mins since 1pm but he refuses to pick up my calls yet he can sms me.

I can only send metta and pray right now.

Then I said just go to his place and ask for Bruce back, but….

The last time I went he wouldn’t let me into his flat either. I will go later with my fiance cos he might just ignore me if I’m alone. Its so strange that he’s asking for advice and complaining but won’t take action or let me do something about it. Sigh why are people so selfish.

I thought with a man along, that adopter might relent, but…..

At 2.50am this morning…..

Bruce died 10 minutes before we arrived. We tried to pump glucose into him but it was too late. His condition was so bad I cannot believe the adopter said he was still active last the night before. We cremated his body and did some prayers for him. Its so heartbreaking.

It is completely heartbreaking for me, and I am sure it is, too, for all of us. We share Weiwen’s grief and can’t even begin to imagine how she must be feeling especially when she put in so much effort to nurse these four kittens through bouts of diarrhoea earlier on. 

I needed Weiwen’s consent before writing this story, and she has given it to me now:

Hi Kah Yein

I received your sms ya so I checked my email. Thank you so much for your support. I’ve never been through anything like this before so it came as a shock to me whatmore I loved Bruce so much and I thought I should give him up to care for the weaker ones.

The fact is when we gave him up we made sure he was healthy and with good appetite and in 6 days he died just cos a person had too much ego to accept help. He did apologize but not sure if it will stop him from adopting kittens that are too young in the future,he does hv 4 cats (two of which are kittens). I know he loved and cared for Bruce but I guess what he had was compassion without education. He didn’t make effort to find out everything and even after I told him so much he just let it happen.

Yes you can blog about it ya. I spent a few hours just reading your blog the other night and it has enlightened me so much about pets and helped me understand what our kittens might be going through so thank you. People like you are a rare gem.

Anyway got to be strong I still have three more kittens to feed and care for! If you need any pictures you can get them from my blog www.szetooweiwen.meya. Thanks KY!

What can I say – Incredible mental strength from one so young. Yes, we must move on now since Bruce is already gone. But we must move on wiser and more prudently now. I believe all of us can learn a thing or two from Weiwen’s experience. For me, Weiwen did everything possible for Bruce, yet, some things are just beyond our control. This is where we need serenity to accept that there are some things we cannot change no matter how hard we try. This is the reality of our earthly life.  

Weiwen took these kittens from the street when someone dumped them out. She even took them back for 3 nights hoping the mother-cat would come back, but when the mother did not, Weiwen learnt to nurse them herself and for a first-time rescuer, she did such a marvellous job. She read up everything she could from the internet, she asked for advice, she brought them to our panel vet, but never asked for sponsorship (she paid for everything herself).  

And yes, as rescuers, we cannot adopt so many, so the next step would be to get them adopted. 

That, for me, is the scariest and hardest part of the journey of rescue and caregiving. You wish you could adopt them all so that you can be sure they are given YOUR best efforts. But this isn’t possible, and you’ll have to give them up at some point in time.

We can never be sure whether an adopter is responsible. It’s purely through observation and our gut feeling that we decide and sometimes, we do get it wrong.  

It is heartbreaking that there are such adopters like the one who adopted Bruce. An adopted animal is not a toy or a plaything. It is a life – a very precious one and because animals depend on us for their survival and wellbeing, it becomes a huge responsibility on us to give them our very best.  

Like in the case of Zandy (formerly Stuart, if you remember), if we cannot cope, we must ask for help and let someone else take over our pet. We should be very thankful that someone else is willing to provide help. To hold on and not let go is pure foolishness and selfishness.  

Looking after a pet is not an attempt to bolster our ego, but some humans use pets for that purpose and this is extremely disappointing.  

We can only take comfort in knowing that Bruce is no longer suffering now.

May he be in a better place, free from suffering and free from selfish evil-doers. 

His time spent with Weiwen where he was given lots of love would have made a positive and lasting impact in his short life. Maybe Bruce’s life as a kitten is meant to be short one and he is off to better shores now.  

We share Weiwen’s grief, but applaud her for her mental strength and tenacity.  

For the sake of sharing and learning, please leave a comment if you have proven tips on how to vet potential adopters and what to do as follow-up after an adoption. In Weiwen’s case, I believe she did everything possible. She followed-up and offered help but the adopter wouldn’t even let her into his house. I find that completely incomprehensible, but that’s what humans are like – we are incomprehensible sometimes.  






12 responses to “Beware of such adopters (Bruce is gone)”

  1. Anonymous

    Have we learnt the lesson of simply not believing the convincing words of potential adopters who lie to get their playthings? Just because we ourselves are honest and conscientious does not mean that others are.

    Never ever give up kittens so young and never be in such a hurry to give them away simply because we think we cannot cope. We rescue them to save them and ensure they live, not to let them die in someone else's careless hands.

    Bruce was way too young to be given away even though he looked okay at the time. He had settled down and moving him was stressful.

    One thing you really need to look at: never pass a tiny young kitten to someone who already has other cats/kittens. Actually, if you speak to the potential adopter, ask him/her questions and lucky enough to visit his/her place, there are ample signs about his/her capacity to really take care of the kitten or just main-main.

    One of the big mistakes of rescuers is the fact that after going to great efforts of rescuing and saving the cat/kittens, they are so desperate to pass it on to someone else and are deep inside are so grateful to be relieved of the burden.

    Many people are so happy and cheer when an animal is adopted. But some of us ask what happens to the animal one or two months down the road. Alive? Dead? Half dead? Back in the street?

    Weiwen, you are a good and kind, compassionate person, Bruce will not return, hang on to the other precious ones, ya? I am sharing with you the heartbreak of genuine rescuers, yes, we need to be very careful, listen to our hearts not to let them go, especially young ones.

    Actually it makes no great difference whether taking care of 1 or 4 kittens, the effort is pretty the same. It will be much, much easier when they can eat on their own (which will not be long). Hang on to all of them, they will bring much joy to your heart and mind. You will have the wonderful opportunity to experience them all playing and bouncing, chasing one another. It is a great stress-reliever, very heartwarming.

    Good luck, young friend, take time to grieve for Bruce, treasure his time with you and the opportunity to care for him, and learn to distrust people however good they look and sound. Trust your heart and their quiet instincts, never feel bad that you feel you distrust certain people. It is your body warning you of potential danger and that something is wrong somewhere, and you must act on it. And if you do, if you are right, you might save a life, if you were somehow wrong, the most is that you made a wrong judgment and that is not so bad.

    Take care, friend, and you Dr. Chan too for your compassion.

  2. Anonymous

    This is indeed so sad to note 🙁

  3. agree, the hardest part is to pass them to the adopters. there's so much worries, worry he wont be able to get much care from the adopters, worry the adopter won't accept him as one of the family members, etc.. rescuer hope to stay just next to the adopter so they can observe. biggest worries is when adopters ignore calls, which happens to most of the afterall, are set to be that way, if the pet are meant to live longer, no matter where he go, he will survive. weiwen, u've did it well. R.I.P Bruce.

    Pei Yi

  4. Anonymous

    All the 4 kittens are simply too young to be given away, if you give away, it would be to a surrogate mother cat, never to a young guy, especially because a young guy would be busy working, making ends meet, having girlfriends, etc. and realistically not much time to sit down nurse and care for even 1 small kitten!

    According to shelter surveys, the most likely human to give up a pet is a young man.

    Even if my kitten is 4 months also I would not give to this cat collector guy living in a flat with so many other cats.

  5. Anonymous

    This cat collector wants the kittens because he read that the kittens would grow up to be beautiful. Maybe can sell or impress girlfriends. That is why some of us grill (vetting) the potential adopters like hell, ask so many questions, check up and double check on their lifestyle, house, etc … if they get fed up we ask so many questions and don't want to adopt never mind as long as the cat/kitten is safe. Better be safe than sorry.

  6. Anonymous

    Weiwen, Shouldn't have given Bruce just because he pester you for so long. Why are you not suspicious because he pester you? That is already loud signal he cannot be trusted. He pester because he scared you give the kittens to someone else. He wanted them because got potential to make money because the blog said the kittens will grow up beautiful. Many people sell cats/kittens.

    Genuine, caring adopters are more concerned with kitten's life and will wait till kitten old enough.

  7. Cat Rescue

    I feel sad after reading about Bruce. Maybe you can share our preadoption form with rescuers. Usually when prospective owners have more than 2 cats, we usually don't give. We always insist on delivering the kitten until their doorstep, let the kitten acclimatise with the new surrounding (we usually stay for at least 30 minutes) before we bid goodbye to the kitten. We follow up the next day and whenever we have a chance. They also need to agree that they will allow us to collect the male cat when he is of age for neutering. The cost of neutering is covered by us. We only give away our female kittens after they have been spayed. That's why we cannot rescue many at a time because we have to jaga the females until they are 5 months old. Maybe this will help screen for good owners.

  8. Anonymous

    Yes, in fact one of the most ignored advice given by careful rescuers again and again is you must never to be so desperate to get the animal (burden) off your own hands and give away for FREE. Once the animal is off your hands and gone, no amount of calls or attempted visits can get the animal back if there is abuse.

    There are enough reports on what actually happens to majority of cats/kittens given away free (used as target practice by potential serial killers, and main-main adopters who neglect the animals and throw them out the moment they find cuter ones, cat/kitten sellers, BYBs).

  9. Thank you all for your advice and I know it is my ignorance that eventually led to this. I guess it is not right to completely have faith and to always believe the best in people. guess I and it was his wife that would be caring for him during the day, and that he promised to keep him well no matter what. His ego got in the way by refusing to let me help and we lost Bruce as a result. I was more than willing to take care of them until they were two months old, to the point that I have delayed starting my new job to October.

    I will be keeping all three kittens with me for good with my fiance, and we will be moving to a landed property for their sake soon. I just can't risk losing any one of them again.

    Thanks all anonymouses, I will pass on your words to anyone else in the same situation. I know better now.

    To Pei Yi, thank you so much for your support. You're a kind hearted person and thank you for your wishes to Bruce.

    To Cat Rescue, thank you for your comments its valuable to me. We need information like this to be made available to public especially to people like me who accidentally become rescuers and have no idea on procedures that should be taken.

  10. Anonymous

    Wei Wen,

    Don't be despair. You have tried your best. Because of this, you are now wiser.

    Btw, I read from petfinder a case similar to yours. It was another persistent adopter & the cat ended up dead as well. Here's the link – The rescuer managed to get the irresponsible adopter banned from petfinder. Maybe you should consider doing the same since you said he has quite number of kittens & cats. Stop him from adopting & potentially killing more kittens.

    Anyhow, don't give up hope… Little Bruce is smiling down on you from kitty heaven.

  11. ManekiNeko

    Wei Wen, you did a great job rescuing these four kittens, and you must reassure yourself that you did the best you could in finding an adopter. As someone above wrote, it's incredibly hard to screen adopters.

    As a Petfinder moderator, though, I would encourage you to post your story in the PF forum, including the adopter's name. This will help other rescuers know not to release cats to him. Please consider this — for the sake of the animals.

    Bless you!

  12. Thanks, Maneki. Yes, I've suggested to Weiwen to post this news at's so that other rescuers would be aware of such a person. Punitha has also offered to help vet adopters should Weiwen decide to rehome Jackie, Donnie and Jet.

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