Why do people abandon their cats? Lots of reasons!
|Rescued Ragdoll cats. These cats were voluntarily relinquished by the person who bred them or who is breeding them. Photo: MSPCA.|
There are many reasons why people abandon their pets. In descending order of importance, I have listed 10 below the spreadsheet. There are actually at least 3,207 reasons (😢) to relinquish your cat according to a study by the Regional Shelter Relinquishment Survey (Salman and others in 1998). Here are the top 41 reasons. Below that list are the reasons that I thought of before I discovered the 3,207 reasons!
Here are my reasons which came to my head fairly quickly.
- 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 (leasehold contract). 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- For cats, so called "behavior problems" are a big reason for abandonment. These "problems" are often human expectation problems because the cat behavior is normal cat behavior and their owner does not like it. 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. This is one of those moot questions. There is a need for better cat ownership to minimise the creation of feral cats.
- 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) and nearly always will be or the cause is medical. Inappropriate elimination is appropriate for the cat because the simply react naturally and instinctively to forces beyond their control.
- 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.
- Sometimes people become too old, frail of sick to continue caring for a cat or cats.
- Rarely cat hoarders have a light bulb moment and realise that they can't cope and seek help. This as mentioned is mightily rare.
RELATED: 3207 Reasons To Relinquish Your Cat.