Cat Abandonments – The Disposable World We Now Live In

Trillian was inside a zipped up backpack left outside the shelter

Trillian was inside a zipped up backpack left outside the shelter

The manager of the London branch of the Wood Green The Animals Charity in Lordship Lane, says that companion animal abandonments at their rescue centre are weekly occurrences and symptomatic of the disposable world we now live in. Do you think the world is becoming more and more casual about companion cat care?

Trillian was dumped in a zipped-up rucksack or backpack outside the charity’s back gate on May 29, 2014. I think Trillian is a male cat. I do know that he was 10 months of age when rescued.

abandoned cat in this rucksack

The rucksack (backpack) in which Trillian was zipped

The next day another young cat, this time in 1-year-old ginger and white male cat named Maxwell was brought to the rescue centre by a member of the public. They found him abandoned in a cat carrier which had been placed on the roof of the person’s car apparently. Bizarre.

At the time of writing this post, I believe, that both cats are available for re-homing.

The other side of the coin of “retail therapy” (buying things for the pleasure of it) is the disposal of those purchases

This brings me on to the point of the post which is this. I tend to agree with the manager of the London branch of this cat charity. I tend to believe that we are living in a more disposable world.

However, I think the concept of disposability goes with the territory of living in a relatively wealthy country. I’m thinking of countries in Europe and North America for example but there are others.

With disposable income you can get disposable possessions. I am referring to inanimate possessions such as washing machines and fridges etc. But once a person gets into the swim of the idea that objects are disposable then I believe that it can rub off on to companion animals.

This is because a lot of people don’t really see a companion animal as they see a human family member. They perceive the companion animal as something lesser; something in between a fridge and a person.

If people do perceive companion animals this way and have got into the habit of disposing of unwanted items for whatever reason then you can see how that attitude could carry over to abandoning a domestic cat.

I don’t believe the concept of disposability is anywhere near as prevalent in poorer countries. I know in places such as India they recycle and repair machinery ad infinitum.

I also note that in my childhood back in the 1950s in England, we did not have the mentality of disposability. We used things as long as they were usable and we repaired items. We had far fewer clothes than most people have today in the West. We were less possession-orientated.

To this day I find it difficult to spend money and I do not like possessions particularly, although the possessions that I do have are high-quality. I don’t get pleasure out of possessing objects which appears to be a spin-off from the attitude of disposability. What I mean is that the other side of the coin of “retail therapy” (buying things for the pleasure of it) is the disposal of those purchases.

The conclusion is that the domestic cat is becoming more disposable in the developed world. This may be why we not infrequently see pedigree cats at animal shelters.

Original story in Tottenham & Woodgreen Journal.

Facebook Comments


Cat Abandonments – The Disposable World We Now Live In — 53 Comments

      • It’s the capital letters that make me laugh. He can’t be calm about it. Honest to god I think he has emotional intelligence issues as well as general mental problems. I’m left believing that Woody steams. There is probably vapour evaporating off his face right now. Anger like that is fairly freakshowish to behold. It’s hard not to react in a childish way to it because he is so childish it’s inspiring.

    • TNR ensures that no more kittens are born into a world with evil scum of the earth like you who would harm them, living in it.

  1. I wonder if in cases like Trillion and Maxwell the owner had tried to get an animal shelter to take in the cats but were told they were full up?
    Our Shelters here are full and animals are put on a waiting list until a space comes up, but some won’t wait! The priority especially at this time of the year is of course pregnant cats or cats with young kittens.
    It’s easy for some people to criticise Shelters who take in too many unwanted animals and this is happening at one of ours because they are really struggling there with more mouths to feed and therefore need more help.
    But turning animals away can lead to them being dumped!
    I HATE the people who dump animals but in some cases that may be why they do it, because all Rescue Shelters have told them they are full up. So cats, dogs and rabbits are dumped and someone then HAS to take them in.
    Possessions mean nothing to me either Michael, there is too much selfishness and greed and waste now in this world.
    It makes me mad when I hear of people winning the lotto or a lot of money on TV quizzes, their first thought is luxury holidays, a new car, designer clothes…do those things make people happy? They wouldn’t make me happy! I’d love to win a large sum of money, there are so many animals (and people) who need help, it would make me very happy to be able to help them.

    • I think you theory about full shelters and abandonment is pretty on target.
      In no way, does that justify abandoning any animal though.
      I really can’t think of one reason for anyone to even surrender their pet much less abandon them.
      I wonder what the owners of those 2 cats would have done if your shelters were kill shelters like here. Maybe their acts would have been harder for them to do. Maybe, they wouldn’t have done it at all.
      It’s hard to say, because having kill shelters aren’t much of a deterrent here. But, I do think that some people “place” the pets they want to rid themselves of in situations (outside vet clinics, in neighborhoods, ON MY DECK)in the hope that someone will take them into their home.

      • I agree Dee, there is NO justification for relinquishing a pet, a family member! Also NO justification for dumping one even if Shelters are full and turn them away.
        I still feel angry about the Caboodle Ranch debacle a while back, people weeping and wailing, where is my baby? Well they didn’t weep and wail when they dumped their ‘baby’ there on a mostly flimsy excuse and walked away leaving them to their fate did they!
        I don’t know if having kill shelters here would deter people, like in your country I don’t suppose it would, because people can walk away and pretend to themselves their cat will be rehomed and live happily ever after.
        It makes me sick!

        • Thanks for reminding me about those scuzzy people who dumped their cats at Caboodle. I needed that fire lit under me today. I was feeling lazy.

          • lol my fire has been lit all weekend Dee, can’t write about it here but Babz and I have been kicked in the teeth in a BIG way! Why? Because of our last Coffee Morning would you believe! Sharing the proceeds between 4 Rescues and one of them hasn’t been pleasant since even though we have raised hundreds if not thousands of £££ for them over the years. We’ve been let down badly more than once by them in cats hours of need and enough is enough. We will be supporting only Kays Hill cattery from now on………

  2. This article couldn’t be more right. A little over a year ago, my neighbor asked me if I wanted to “get rid of” any of my cats. Apparently, he wanted to get a cat because the woman he was currently dating liked them. I told him that cats are not objects to be thrown away when you’re done with them (I’ve left out the colorful words I used with him), and the next thing I know another cat is visiting my yard. Seems he went and got a grey and white male cat and when the novelty quickly wore off, out he went! I didn’t know he was the neighbor’s cat until I heard him yelling to him, “go away! I don’t want to see you anymore!”. I told this ” person” that he had better keep his cat inside or he was going to get hurt or killed (I live on a road with a bad blind curve). He just replied, “I know”. So, to make an already long story shorter, Buddy (as I names him) now lives with me and my cats. The neighbor never even asked if I had seen him.

    • Thanks, Bob.
      A familiar story for me.
      Just this morning, I was able to catch a neighbor on his way to work so I could tell him that I wanted to take a very sick kitten of his home with me to see if I could nurse him back to health. The poor baby was out every day in the heat, dehydrated, and seemed disoriented.
      His response was, “I don’t care”.
      There you have it. The attitude.
      So, I’m working hard to rehydrate this little darling so I can tell if more is wrong with him. I’m hoping he’ll survive, and I won’t be returning him EVER.

      • His response was, “I don’t care”.
        There you have it. The attitude.

        This story shocked me, Dee. The attitude is worse than poor. What chance do cats have with people like this?

        The best of luck in getting him back to health. If at some time it is possible, could you do a post about this sick kitten?

        • Sadly, Dee’s post doesn’t surprise me. I’ve seen enough of that attitude to know it well. I tend to have that attitude towards the people who think that way. When you take on a cat, you are responsible for them for their entire life. End of story. If you don’t think you can do that, don’t get a cat. If you value your furniture more, don’t get a cat.

          • Well said, Bob.
            I’m slapped in the face so much with this attitude that I forget that it may be surprising to Brits like Michael.

        • Yes, ofcourse. But, this sort of thing isn’t so uncommon around here. I would never have known if I wasn’t out and about so much going to my closest colony. I’ve seen him every day for about 2 weeks. I think he’s around 12 weeks old.

          I’ve been forcing fluids all day, and he has been in my arms most of it.

          He’s so dry that I can pull up a pinch of skin on his back, and it just stays up.

          I’ll be happy when he pees even a little.

          • Wynonie had a similar problem, and the vet told me to give him Pedialyte. It replaced his fluids and electrolytes as well.

            • You’re a mind reader. That’s what I’m using but diluting half and half with bacteriostatic water so as not to overload the Na+ and K+.
              He’s taking it like a drunk in a bar! LOL!

        • I want so much to show pictures. I have the camera and “cord” but I’m missing some sort of card that I’m told I need. I would get it if I knew what it was.
          I’m so illiterate about this and Sarah(daughter) couldn’t stay long enough to help. I’ll just have to wait until she can get back.
          The difference between this kitten today and yesterday morning is like night and day. He’s starting to play, already using the litter box, and PEEING. I’m so happy.

          • Been away from POC for a few days or more. So glad I found this where our Dee is caring for a sick kitten. I would do anything to see progress photos! Email me the brand etc. of the camera and I’ll see what I can figure out for you. Honest.

            And who is this hero Bob I’m reading?! Love it. Sometimes the happy endings make it worth it. My Bigfoot was abandoned. He acted like he knew exactly what he was doing as a homeless cat. Now he is a real ‘pussy cat’ hardly leaving his comfort zone. A very different cat. Of course, that was over six years ago. Whoever the beasts were who dropped him off without a care, I’ll be grateful to forever. But that is just one cat. There are too many left to their own devices. Many survive, and some are lucky.

            • Thanks, Dw.
              I found a page, sort of an instructions for dummies, that says I don’t need the card I was told I had to have.
              I’ll give it a try when I get a chance.
              If it doesn’t work out, I’ll shoot you an email.

          • I just wanted to post that the little grey baby died suddenly this morning. I wasn’t expecting it because he had come a long way since I took him in 9 days ago. He started having back to back seizures and just never came around. I called my vet clinic to get their opinion and they feel that his severely dehydrated state/heat prostration probably caused him to have some brain damage. I’m very sad and really mad at that man who was supposed to be his caretaker but was the cause of this poor baby’s death.
            I was able to get a couple of pictures of him which I’ll put on here as soon as I can get around to reading how to transfer them.

            In the meantime, I came across another very tiny baby (I’m guessing around 7 weeks old) all alone trying to get through a very thick brushed area dragging her back legs behind her. This was 3 days ago, only 6 days after bringing the first home. She’s a mostly a grey and cream colored torti, bony, and also dehydrated. Her back legs are paralyzed and there are no signs of trauma. She’s eating and drinking like crazy, getting around pretty well, and is incontinent at this point. I’m just happy that she started peeing and pooing yesterday. I’m hoping she survives for my sake as well as hers. I’m taking pictures.

            That’s it.

            I want to write an article someday titled, “Why me God?”

            • I’m so sad for you about the little grey kitten dying Dee and the poor little kitten with paralysed legs, you are an Earth Angel caring for those babies.
              Yes I think you should write that article
              ‘Why me God?’ if you ever get time from your caring duties xx

            • These are heartbreaking stories. They show the harsh reality of what it is like for many cats who don’t have homes. It makes me sad it really does.

              “Why me God?”

              This is a very good question, Dee. It can be a burden looking after vulnerable cats who need our help but it is a burden we cannot shrug off because it is simply not in us to do it. Sometimes people like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. You have to help but in helping you carry a burden.

              • True.
                I’ll formulate something to write some day. But, there’s never an answer as to why situations like this are in front of me all the time and for my entire life. I don’t understand why I am the only one in a parking lot full of people who sees a poor hungry cat peering from the bushes or hears a kitten crying.

            • My second little baby girl has died.
              Not so shocking as the first. I gently bathed her little behind and limp back legs yesterday afternoon, fed her and heard that fatal jaw squeak as she chewed. I don’t know if there is a real term for that. I’ve just always called it the jaw squeak and have learned over the years that it means death is imminent. There’s nothing that can be done at that point.

              • The jaw squeak is sort of a conbined creaking and grinding sound when a kitten chews.
                I’ve never been able to find something very specific to kittens, so I’ve sort of reasoned it out myself.
                I know that some older cats, especially in end stage renal disease, will develop this because they are wasting away, ie. muscle mass and bone health disappear. So, I have always assumed that this kitten phenomenon is due to the same.
                This second very tiny, paralyzed girl was very dehydrated and emaciated – too wasted to rebound. Had I found her earlier, before her system reached shutdown, the outcome may have been better.
                It’s odd, because a kitten with that squeak may give the impression that they are improving, ie. eating, drinking, getting around, using litter. But, in my experience, once that noise appears, the kitten will die within 48 hours and nothing will change that.

            • Here is the little grey baby boy that the man didn’t care about.
              This is my first time with the camera and all, so sorry for any bloopers.

              • A good photo Dee! Poor little soul, this is all so very sad. You are an Earth Angel to care so much.

              • So very sad about the little paralysed girl too, their lives count as nothing to to some people, thank God for YOU there Dee.
                Thank you for sharing your photos with us xx

  3. Michael, I think your hypothesis about the disposable society is exactly right. What you wrote about people in countries such as India having to repair and recycle machinery is not something I would have tied to the way animals are treated there, but it makes sense. It’s an attitude. I never would have noticed it, but it kind of explains my attitude toward animals. I don’t see them as disposable because I don’t see anything as disposable. It is just not how I was raised. Which probably explains why I drive a 20 year old jeep that looks like two different model years from front to back, and I have a little cat who was born with a spinal problem. I was told from the start that he would have toileting problems due to his condition, and that I may want to have him euthanized. I still can’t get my head around that idea… kill the cat so I don’t have to do a little cleanup. I kept little El Ray, and replaced my carpet with vinyl flooring and laminate flooring. Makes the house look better, and cleanup is a breeze.

    • You are like me Bob. It is an attitude. Some people just don’t give up and they make do with what they have whereas others are constantly seeking something (happiness?) through possessions.

    • OMG!
      I’m in love with you, Bob!
      That’s exactly what I’m having done. The carpets are going to be ripped out and replaced with vinyl tiles.
      I’m, also, tossing the fabric furniture and replacing it with something that only needs wiping down. I’m thinking along the lines of indoor/outdoor stuff.

      • Oh, I already tossed the fabric furniture, except for my two recliners. And those, I got them for free so if they get torn up, no big deal. I never had new furniture. If my parents ever get a new sofa set, I’ll take their old ones. That way if they get torn up, again, no big deal. I’ve also found use for empty cat litter buckets . I put a roll of paper towels, some small plastic trash bags, and a spray bottle of disinfectant for cleanup due to little El Ray. I keep a few throughout the house so I never have to go far to clean up a mess. I just grab the bucket and go!

        • Bob you have a wonderful attitude towards everything, not just cats. In a world where one runs into many different kinds of cruelty and uncaring it makes my day when what I consider to be a normal person shows up out of the blue with good things to say and with a sense of responsibility towards those in need. What we do here has consequence and meaning not just to us but those around us. Everything we do goes out into the world somehow. It’s a pleasure to come across people who feel the same responsibilities.

  4. recognise this attitude. It is the same as the people who had Rula and Lulu they just don’t care and there are many with this same attitude.I think it is diabolical

    • That attitude is so widespread.
      I could say that these people should have never gotten cats; but, then, you wouldn’t have your Rula and Lulu, and I wouldn’t have some of mine, especially this precious grey angel that I took yesterday morning.

      • Funny you should say “gray angel”. I have a gray girl with white paws that I named Hui Xian… Mandarin for gray angel.

    • It is about really caring. There are degrees of caring from total commitment (us!) to a half-hearted approach to downright abuse. A lot of people are not committed enough to care for a cat.

  5. Bob I love you and your cattitude!! You’re right we do live in a disposable world but I honestly don’t think that is the reason why some people abandon animals without giving them a second thought.

    Firstly I just can’t get my head around kill shelters its a contradiction in terms.

    Secondly I agree with Ruth; some people dump cats at shelters because every shelter is full to over flowing. You’re right they shouldn’t but isn’t that better than leaving them in the middle of a built up area to get abused, run over or starve to death?

    Thirdly I don’t think it matters whether you have possessions or not. Possessions don’t make you a bad person. I know people who have beautiful homes but they still adore their cats and would never dream of dumping them. Conversely I know people who have very little and life is a daily struggle yet their cats are everything to them.

    I believe some people have no empathy towards animals for lots of different reasons, they could just not realise that animals also have needs because they have been bought up that way, they could be just plain evil and could’t give a damn but whatever the reason animals become abandoned by people from all walks of life.

  6. Cat-Shelter/Sanctuary = What they now rebadged for cat-hoarders to make it sound more socially acceptable.

    You’re advocating for a mental-illness. And this doesn’t bother you? ROFLMAO!

    Of course not! You can’t see the very mental-illness of which you yourselves suffer from. After-all, how can a damaged brain detect its own damage? It CAN’T!!!


    Really? Are you really ALL this fuckingly brain-damaged? How are those toxoplasma-gondii worms in your brains working out for you? LOL!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please only upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks.