Don't fear the shelter cat

It's not that people are afraid of shelter cats. They are afraid of adopting shelter cats.

Cats in shelters have the perception of being "someone else's problem." Is that how they got there? Fortunately, science has an answer. In a recent study, here are the reasons an owner relinquished a cat to a shelter, in the order the person gave to the researchers:

  • Moving (8%)
  • Landlord not allowing pet (6%)
  • Too many animals in household (11%)
  • Cost of pet maintenance (6%)
  • Owner having personal problems (4%)
  • Inadequate facilities (2%)
  • No homes available for litter mates (6%)
  • Allergies in family (8%)
  • House soiling (5%)
  • Incompatibility with other pets (2%)

As we look over this list, we see only a few reasons that would possibly be the cat's fault.

The most fearsome, house soiling, is only 5%! As someone with a lot of experience in cat rehabilitation, I can confidently assert that out of all the cats that get turned into the shelter for not using their litter box, 49.5% have an easily-fixed medical condition, and 49.5% have no problem using a clean litter box.

I think this mindset occurs because people who want a cat as a pet have trouble understanding how anyone could give up a cat... unless the cat has a problem. But that is not what we have going on here.

Abandonment, moving, losing the cat and not looking for them, letting them languish when they need medical care, and "dropping them off in the country" for other people to take to the shelter... this is how cats wind up there.

Cats get into the shelter because of human problems; not cat ones.

For more reassurance, read my article on the great benefits of adopting cats from shelters.
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