Why do people abandon their pets?

Abandoned - Photo by AleBonvini
There are three main reasons why people abandon their pets. In descending order of importance they are as follows (I have added some more as well):
  1. Moving home. It sounds frivolous and careless but it is apparently true. People for whatever reason do not want to take their animals with them sometimes. I suppose the classic reasons are that the new home does not permit pets or is too small. The downsizing may have been forced on the person for economic reasons. However, often the true reasons are not disclosed. Indeed the person may even deceive himself.
  2. A second reason for abandoning a pet is that the person adopted the companion animal when he or she was a cub or kitten and then is surprised (overwhelmed) at how large the animal has become when adult. This problem applies to dogs.
  3. Purely economic reasons - the owner can't afford to keep a companion animal. This may be because of misplaced expectations or dire financial circumstances beyond the control of the person.  You will probably find though that the car stays as will the iPhone and the $100 a month telephone bill!
  4. Another reason is that the companion animal was bought as a present and the person receiving the present becomes disinterested after a while. This may happen when parents give a child a kitten as a present. If the child gives up caring for the cat, the parents take over and then they give up later.
  5. Expectations about maintenance and costs can be misplaced and when reality clicks in the owner gives up and abandons the cat or dog. This can be avoided by reflection and careful objective consideration before adopting.
  6. For cats, so called "behavior problems" are a big reason for abandonment. These "problems" is often normal cat behavior that the person does not like. Once again it is about expectations and education before adopting. Should education be obligatory before people acquire a pet? If it was you would need licensing.
  7. Inappropriate elimination (urinating outside the litter tray) is a potential reason for abandonment. The reasons behind this behavior might be found in the environment that the person has created (too stressful for example).
  8. Another and controversial reason why people abandon their cats is declawing. Declawing a cat can result in behavior problems such as being unable to use litter trays as it hurts too much. This can lead to relinquishing the cat to a shelter.

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