Certain attitudes with respect to cat ownership can result in noticeable human behaviours which can be considered as signs that there may well be a breakdown in the human-cat bond or an imminent breakdown which can lead to the cat being given up by the owner.
Very briefly, here, I set out the signs:
- The cat is “intact” (meaning the cat is not neutered or spayed) and/or the cat is under 6 months of age.
- There is either no veterinary care or it is inadequate.
- The cat was acquired at no cost or little cost and the decision to adopt the cat was made spontaneously without careful consideration.
- The cat does not live in the house with his/her owners. For example, the cat or cats are confined to a garage or basement area.
- The cat caretaker reports cat behaviour problems such as inappropriate elimination, aggression or scratching furniture etc..
- The caretaker allows inadequate time for attachment between him/herself and her cat. This probably demonstrates a lack of commitment which ties in with number 3 above.
- Importantly, the caretaker has unrealistic expectations regarding all aspects of cat ownership such as the cost of maintaining a domestic cat and with respect to cat behaviour (expecting human-like behavior or unprepared to accept cat behaviors).
Can we summarise the above seven points into one short paragraph or a phrase? All of them would fall under the heading of “a lack of commitment and understanding”. One of the most important steps in cat ownership is the moment before it begins. Considerable consideration needs to be undertaken before adoption to ensure that the adoption is for the life of the cat.
The above seven points were arrived at in surveys conducted with cat owners and at animal shelters. Cat owners in stable relationships with their cat were interviewed and their attitudes compared with owners who had recently relinquished their cats to a local animal shelter.
Source: Myself and The Cat It’s Behavior, Nutrition & Health.