How do you feel about an owner who surrenders her cat to a shelter due to holiday plans?

December is supposed to be the most joyful month of the year as each of us celebrate the holiday in our own way. Unfortunately, many cats are paying the price with their lives because the person who was supposed to love them forever is either too lazy or too uninformed about cat behavior to keep their cat at home during the holiday. Owner surrendered cats are increasing in shelters across America, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. At the end of this article, please leave a comment on your feelings about a cat owner who dumps their cat at the local shelter rather than coming up with a solution to a temporary problem caused by holiday conflicts.

Bradman owner surrender at Greenville County Animal Care in Upstate SC
“Bradman” owner surrender at Greenville County Animal Care in Upstate SC
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

A lot of cat owners have decided to travel this year. The price of gas is down, so more people are taking advantage and visiting family. Or a cat owner has family coming in from out of town who don’t share their love of cats. Rather than check into options available to care for their cat while they’re gone, these owners are taking the easy way out and dumping “Fluffy” at the shelter. Since Fluffy comes in as an owner surrender, state law on hold time doesn’t apply. Fluffy can be killed at any time, even on the day Fluffy enters the shelter. News flash: Fluffy would have been content in a small bathroom if the decision was made due to family arriving for a holiday visit.

Miley declawed owner surrender at Greenville County Animal Care in Upstate SC
“Miley” declawed owner surrender at Greenville County Animal Care in Upstate SC

When I first noticed the increase beginning around Thanksgiving, I was unsure what the problem was. I thought it was a Christmas tree/decoration issue. Anyone with cats can understand the disaster that can occur when cats and tinsel, tree decorations and the tree itself are in the same house. We nixed the decorations several years ago because our Furby is an accident waiting to happen. I’ve already received one report on a cat who got entangled in the tree lights and died while the owner was away from the home.

The traveling during Christmas issue should be easy enough to correct without sacrificing the family cat. There are services available where a person with outstanding references can be paid to go to the home daily and check on the cat and provide food and water and clean the litter box. There are boarding facilities (some are really fancy) where a cat will be cared for. Even if the cat is kept in a cage at the family vet, it’s a better option than what’s basically throwing the cat away and never seeing it again. How can a cat lover shun a cage at the vet, yet turn their cat over to a kill shelter? What is WRONG with people? A cat is a member of the family, and people who make the decision to take on the care of a cat should think these things out beforehand.

Do the owners who surrender their cats, do you not realize you’re putting your cat in a life or death situation. Most shelters are breeding grounds for upper respiratory infections. The dreaded kitty cold, which is easily treated at home, often proves deadly in an overcrowded shelter. A stressed out cat who doesn’t know what he did wrong to end up alone in a crowded cage is much more likely to get sick and die or be euthanized. Cat owners, don’t even try to convince yourself that your cat is beautiful and will find a new home. Beautiful cats (as all cats are) are killed on a daily basis. They’re killed for space, for illness and for behavioral issues. Those who aren’t killed sit in a small cage for weeks waiting for their person to come back and save them.

Readers, how do you, as a cat lover, handle the holidays? I’m sure many of you either leave town or have family visit. Perhaps a good recommendation on how you handle December will save the life of a cat. Please comment, and also remember the cat who died after becoming entangled in Christmas lights while his owner was away.


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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

15 thoughts on “How do you feel about an owner who surrenders her cat to a shelter due to holiday plans?”

  1. I persoinally travel a lot from Mumbai and as a bachelor the biggest liability has always been my two cats and previously my pet Alexandrne parakeet. I do manage to get my house-keeper look after my cats during my absence and agree that the greatest handicap in owning pets is their upkeep during the owners absence. sad to read of pet owners abandoning their cats just because of a vacation firmly realizing that their pets could be euthanized by the pet shelters.Sad to note that these owners treat their pets as commodities akin to fads with the least emotional attatchment.In old age which we all humans have to experience sometime in our lives if we have a long life then hope these same former pet owners wind up as destitutes in some remote “Health care cantre”.At least they would be kept alive unlike their pets whom they knowingly euthanized due to a inconvenience .If you can’t afford to maintain and care for a pet then please don’t own one

  2. I have a house full of cats. I haven’t taken a vacation or holiday in years. My family understands that if they want to see me, they will have to make the trip as I am homebound. And I am ok with that. I don’t particularly care for road trips anyhow…especially during the holidays.

  3. My cats are as important as any other family member. I would never betray them like that. Disgusting people, who give up a pet because of such absurd reasons. Hope karma gets them good.

  4. I think they should be added to a Do Not Adopt list, which is shared with all shelters and rescue groups so they can never adopt another animal.

  5. I don’t know how people can do that to their furbabies. People like that disgust me and are a disgrace to mankindand should never ever be allowed to have any animal mayno not kids either probably ship them too. My furbabies as my grandchildren and son and his wife are my life and I would never just drop or leave my furbabies alone. Just saying!!!

  6. Just ridiculous! People just don’t get that the cat is a MEMBER of the family. My cat was a valued member of our family from the time he was a little kitten until his untimely passing. He was very dear to me and my husband. When we went on holiday, we got a cat sitter. Now we take care of cats when their owners go away. Just plain sad. 🙁

    1. A lot of people think like you Melanie. It amazes me that many, though, don’t and are able to surrender their cats like this. They can’t have any emotional connection with their cat. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  7. what? they probably let them run free to be killed by cars, probably dont vet them or feed them, they are the scum of the earth and should never be allowed to own a animal. dirt balls, maggots, scum of the earth.

  8. The people who surrender their cats under these circumstances cannot have the requisite commitment with respect to caring for a domestic cat and therefore should not be looking after a cat in the first place. I would expect them to be in a minority but their behavior is another example of irresponsible cat ownership which causes a lot of problems.

    Thanks for reporting on this Elisa. I have never heard of this sort of callousness before.

    1. Diane Ricciardi Stewart

      Michael, I agree with you 200%!!! In my place, my cats come FIRST!!! I would NEVER dream of even boarding them! They are my *kids*, along with my son , and I would rather be at home with them ANY day of the week!!

      I remembered reading a story about this, and I was infuriated!!! There aren’t enough words to accurately describe my feelings about this sort of thing.

      Excellent post Elisa!! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!! ♥♥♥

      1. Happy Christmas Diane. I am the same as you. I hate people who behave like this. It is chronic cat abuse and society should be much tougher on these people to force them to stop it.

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