Studies have explored ways of increasing the likelihood of shelter cat adoptions. The first idea is to add toys to the cats’ cages. It was found that this improved the chances of being adopted. Perhaps it makes the cats look as if he/she is more at home, at the adopter’s home. It must aid visualising the prospect of the cat being adopted by the person viewing the cat. The toys did not affect the cat’s behaviour in the study so this was about perception, presentation and imagination in my view.
Another study found that cats which were housed at eye level, in upper tiers rather than lower tier cages, were viewed more often by potential adopters.
When the cats were more active they were viewed longer and were therefore more likely to be adopted.
Cats in upper tiers were more likely be active than lower-tier cats. The reason for this is possibly because they were viewed more often and were therefore interacting more with their potential adopters.
Another reason why upper-tier cats were more active is because they were in more elevated areas and cats prefer this because it provides them with a vantage point to view the surroundings and monitor approaching humans. Also cats in the upper-tiers may be less stressed and therefore more active.
Upper-tier cats are more visible. Therefore cats who are harder to adopt such as older black cats should be placed in upper-tier cages with toys.
Another study found that factors affecting the likelihood of a cat being adopted include:
- The age of the cat. Cats under one year are preferred.
- The sex of the cat. Males are preferred over females.
- Sterilised cats are preferred over intact cats (but this is not an issue because cat shelters sterilise their cats).
- The colour of the cat. White, colour point or grey is preferred over brown or black.
- Purebred is preferred over random bread. Persian cats are preferred over domestic shorthairs.
- The reason for relinquishment is a factor. Strays are preferred over cats relinquished for other reasons possibly meaning behavioural reasons.
Studies: Lepper et al 2002, Rochlitz 2005, Fantuzzi el al 2010, Gourkow and Fraser 2006.