We don’t know how good or bad cat owners are in caring for their domestic cats. There are no obligatory or set standards in cat caretaking. No one’s written a little red book on the standards that need to be attained by a cat owner. And no one is being tested. Maybe there should be standards. There are standards for many other things that we do such as driving vehicles. There are standards for maintaining vehicles. There just isn’t the resources available to maintain standards in cat ownership which is why they are never set.
We can only get a glimmer of what the standard is. I can refer to a 2011, UK veterinary charity study which estimated that the average pet cat’s physical and social environment scored 64%. In households where there is more than one cat the score is even lower. Therefore, on a scale of 1 to 10 the average standard of cat ownership in caring for cats is six out of ten.
The study also investigated the standard of knowledge of cat owners about cat behaviour. They came to the conclusion that the score in that respect was 66% or, once again, about six out of ten.
I don’t know about you but I would consider that these scores are quite low. They are of course averages and I’m sure that the study wasn’t that large but they hint at substandard cat care in the UK. I suspect that the same standard applies to most countries in the West including America.
Knowing that the well-being of many cats falls short of what it should be, it begs the question, why? One reason may be that cats suffer in silence. They are independent or that’s what is always said. They don’t need a lot of care. They are low maintenance pets. This is another well rehearsed saying. They are misleading.
Another reason why the standard is lower than it should be is because pretty well nothing is done about educating cat owners. They have to teach themselves and that depends on how self disciplined and willing the person is. I am convinced that a lot of people, significantly more than 50%, adopt a cat with the knowledge that they simply have to feed her. Little or no consideration is given to anything else including the overall expense over the years to come.
There should be a book available which provides, in simple language and over no more than 20 pages, standards of excellence in cat ownership. It could be provided free of charge by the government and it should be given out to all cat adopters every time they take away a cat from a cat shelter or a breeder. This should be obligatory.