4 Ways Help Your New Cat Could Have a Shelter

by catfood

Cats must be loved by someone; after all, they are the most numerous man’s best friend. According to the American Pet Products Association 2011-2012 survey, there are 86.4 million pet cats and 78.2 million pet dogs in the United States. (See our infographic gallery for more information on family pet statistics.) Unfortunately, arrangements for the pet aren’t always made in advance, and there’s no willing or able family or friends to save the day. When pets are lost, far fewer cats than dogs are ever returned to their owners (ASPCA).

So, how did your cat, or any cat, have a shelter?


1. Cats Get Lost, Even Indoor-Only Cats

According to a 1997 survey conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), only 35% of cats that ended up in shelters were surrendered by their owners. People frequently believe that because their cat is kept indoors, he or she will never become lost. Dr. Linda Lord of the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine investigated the problem. She’s demonstrated that indoor cats can escape. She discovered that approximately 40% of lost cats in one community were identified as indoor cats. (AVMA)

Once outside, most cats either hide or flee for their lives. The lucky ones are obviously discovered, or the next best thing is that they end up in an animal shelter. Others may struggle to find food, face extreme cold or extreme heat, have to fend off more savvy outdoor cats, or are killed by coyotes, birds of prey, or cars.

Nearly half of the lost cats studied by Lord were never found, and only 7% of cat parents who found their pet were able to find him or her at a shelter.


2. Microchipping Can Help, But Only If The Chip Information Is Up-to-Date

A microchip can save a pet’s life. Another study by Lord, which was highlighted in Ohio State University’s Research News, discovered that 72.7% of microchipped stray house animals were able to find owners. [Editor’s note: The same study discovered that microchipped cats who came into the shelter as strays were twenty times more likely to be reunited with their families than unchipped cats.]

While the number of microchips for cats has grown in recent years, cats began with almost nothing. So, contrary to popular belief, the majority of cats do not have a microchip. Catfoodsite, the ASPCA, and others now recommend that cats wear an ID collar as a secondary form of identification, but most cat parents have yet to adopt this practice.

Remember that having a microchip is a necessary first step, but it is useless unless there is current registration information in the database of the microchip provider. A microchip that has not been registered is analogous to a phone that does not have a phone number. Nobody will be able to track you down. (To learn more about updating your microchip information, click here.)


3. What If Something Happens to You?

The economy has become a more common reason for pets being surrendered to shelters in recent years, though some communities are now experiencing a positive turnaround as the economy improves. Some people, however, lose their jobs and homes and are unable to relocate with their pets.

A few shelters and well-organized foster care networks provide a temporary safety net. However, these options are limited, and if no family or friend is available to care for a pet, the only option is a shelter. [Editor’s note: The NCPPSP reports that 43% of cats are surrendered to shelters for reasons unrelated to the cat in question, such as moving, having too many cats in the household, or the owner having personal problems.]

Some issues are unavoidable, such as the death of a pet’s caregiver.) Nonetheless, far too many cats end up in shelters each year. (Learn more about providing for your pet’s future if you pass away.)

4. Breaking Down the Human-Pet Bond

Medical and behavioral issues can both have an impact on your cat’s relationship. Many cats’ behavioral issues will not reoccur if they receive proper medical care or are adopted by a new family. Behaviors do not ‘just change’ when there is no explanation. When diabetes is diagnosed and treated, the cat’s aim returns to 100%.

Another example is that cats may be far less likely to scratch in inappropriate places if appropriate scratching posts are placed in appropriate locations. An aggressive cat may become benevolent after two daily sessions with an interactive toy and another cat to chase.

The point is that most behavioral issues can be resolved before giving up the cat with the right help. What is considered a serious behavioral problem in one family may not be in another. Of course, when “bad behavior” has a medical cause, treatment is critical.

The bottom line is that when the bond between family members and their pets is broken, the animal suffers. If you notice a change in your cat’s behavior, contact your veterinarian. For example, a cat may urinate outside of the litter box. Certified cat behavior consultants, www.iaabc.org, or Catfoodsite’s Cat Problems center can help you resolve common cat issues before they wreak havoc on your relationship.

Wondering about 9 Ways to Welcome Home your New Cat? Check it out on our latest post!

By catfoodsite.com

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