Here is a gallery of three photographs showing how an individual cat is dumped at a shelter outside the door, anonymously. The shelter is the Mayhew Animal Home in London, UK. These are thumbnail photographs. If you click on any one of the photographs you will be taken to a larger version and a description (more discussion).
I think it is quite instructive to see these photographs. Also instructive are the comments on Facebook that accompany the photographs. The following two comments more or less summarise the whole. On the one hand are people who criticise cat owners who dump their cats outside shelters anonymously and on the other hand there are people who, while not defending the person, make the point that you cannot judge a person who dumps their cat like this because we do not know the circumstances under which it happened.
“She’s better off with you guys, than with the shits who dumped her (pardon my French)”
“Not everybody lives in great circumstances, or is sensible, or completely able in mind and body; the cat was secure, had food, was placed where there was help. They might not have done the very best but at least they tried. These comments might put off someone from even doing that.”
What sort of comment would you make? I completely understand that we should be careful about being judgemental about people. Sometimes people fall upon hard times and although, at one time, they were good cat caretakers they find themselves unable, due to financial constraints, to do a good job and on occasions, such as this, they decide that it would be better that their cat is re-homed. They seek the assistance of an animal shelter to do it.
Personally, I would prefer if the person attended the shelter in person face-to-face and not anonymously as this would allow the person to provide some input to the shelter staff regarding the health of the cat and for example food preferences and any other information that may help them to look after the cat and re-home him/her.
Also, although there are many people, decent cat caretakers, who are forced to abandon their cats, there are also many people who are not good and who don’t care, They abandon their cats anonymously in this way sometimes in large numbers. What I mean is they do it anonymously as if they feel guilty or ashamed of what they are doing.
That probably tells us something about the person and to be frank I believe that on many occasions people do use financial hardship as an excuse to dump their cats, when in truth if you were able to analyse their budgetary constraints you will probably discover that they are in fact able to care for their cat properly but have not prioritised caring for their cat with the money available. It is often about prioritisation and where your loyalties lie.
The word “commitment” comes to mind. Is a person is committed to doing their utmost to look after their cat throughout the life of the cat notwithstanding unforeseen difficult times?