Based upon the top three reasons why people relinquish a domestic cat, the top three domestic cat problems might be as follows:
- Too many cats at home
- owner allergies
That short list may surprise you. Classic problems such as soiling the home – inappropriate elimination – (ranked seventh) and aggression towards people (ranked seventeenth) are well outside the top three. The list is based on a study conducted in 1998 – by the Regional Shelter Relinquishment Survey (Salman and others in 1998). Of course, the situation may have changed over the intervening 16 years but I still believe that this study is valid.
However, one of the problems with studies of this kind is that they are carried out by questionnaires. It is conceivable that the participants provided false information to protect themselves. Just a thought.
If the top reason is too many cats in a home, it doesn’t take much imagination to decide upon a solution. There can only be two reasons why there are too many cats at home:
- The owner allowing her/his cat to breed or;
- The owner is adopting too many cats.
Both are very easy to resolve. The first is resolved by neutering and spaying cats before they are able to reproduce. A lot of cat owners believe that a female cat should have a litter before being spayed but this is incorrect and a lot of unwanted cats are created because of this idea.
As to the second reason the answer is common sense: people should exercise more self-discipline.
As to owner allergies, this is certainly more complicated because there are a lot of people who love domestic cats and who want to care for them but struggle to do so because of an allergy to the cat. This almost boils down to two things. Either the person does not adopt a cat in the first place or he or she finds a way to minimise the impact of her allergy to domestic cats.
I can only presume that if a person relinquishes her cat because an allergy to the cat then it must be the first cat that the person has cared for otherwise the person would know they have allergy and would not have adopted a cat in the first place.
Either that, or the person is making an excuse in responding to a survey about domestic cat relinquishment in order to get rid of their cat.
As to moving home, this is really about commitment to caring for a cat for the life of the cat. Once again I feel that some people use the excuse of moving home to get rid of their cat. It’s a good opportunity to dispense with their domestic cat if for whatever reason they feel like changing their lives and when a person moves home sometimes it is to change their lives to a certain extent.
However, sometimes people have to downsize to a rented apartment and many landlords do not allow pets in their properties. This makes it far more difficult for a cat owner to find a property suited to both themselves and their cat. That does not mean it is impossible to find a property, it just means it is more difficult because there are properties out there, and it does not matter which country one lives in, where the landlord allows a person to keep a domestic cat.
If the tenancy agreement does not allow the keeping of a cat in the apartment then on occasions it might be possible to negotiate with the landlord to amend the agreement whilst paying a larger deposit. What I’m saying is that it may be possible to renegotiate the terms of the agreement. As I said it’s about commitment.
There are cases where people have moved and left their cat in the home that they have moved from. Occasionally pets are found in these properties, locked in with limited amounts of food and water. That might give a clue as to the attitude of some people who use the reason of moving home to get rid their cat.
Note: the second half of this article was written in haste because for some peculiar reason it had been deleted after publication and therefore had to be rebuilt quickly. I apologise for that.