Categories: Feral Cats

Jackson County Animal Control Shelter Euthanises 80% of Cats

by Michael

The figure in the title relates to 2010. It is an extraordinarily high figure but probably not exceptional.

I suppose if we look on the bright side 20% of cats were adopted. The Jackson County Animal Control Shelter had a bit of a shock to their system recently (Dec 2011) when a microchipped domestic cat was euthanised (let’s use the more honest phrase: killed in a control way) as an unadoptable feral cat. More specifically the cat was considered “unmanageable” by the staff.

This really brings into question the methods utilised in deciding if a cat is unmanageable and therefore not suitable for adoption.

The cat (Max) was obviously suitable for adoption because he was living with a person. It appears that he was upset and anxious because of the treatment that he was experiencing.

I am not saying that the staff were treating him badly. I am saying that Max was upset because he was in a strange place, in a cage, that he considered hostile resulting probably in defensive aggressive behavior. In short this should be thought of as normal behavior for a well socialized domestic cat.

I wonder how many cats are put down in shelters because they are frightened and defensive? Is enough consideration being given by shelter staff to factor into an assessment of character the sudden change in conditions under which the cat finds himself?

Assessment of a cat’s personality should be done in neutral, comfortable surroundings that mimic those of a cared for domestic cat. Cats are reactive in behavior. They will react to stimuli around them. If the stimulus is frightening to a cat for whatever reason this will dramatically alter the outcome of an assessment.

Happily the outcome of this disaster has stirred the shelter into reconsidering their practices and methods to maximise adoptions.

See also: No Kill Animal Shelters – more can be done to slow down the killing and speed up the adopting.


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Jackson County Animal Control Shelter euthanises 80% of cats

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Mar 23, 2012 disgusting
by: leanne

if i caught any volunteer treating any animal like this they would have my boot up their backsides and told never to come back. how the hell is any animal supposed to react favourably to that sort of treatment, what is it supposed to prove. other than the perpetrators are total idiots.

Feb 06, 2012 Another example
by: Michael

In the news is another example of how some shelter workers try and work out if a cat is feral or not. They poke it with pens from both sides of the cage and she what the reaction is! Astonishing. The reaction is bound to be defensive aggression. How stupid can some people be?

Two employees were involved in doing this at a Valencia County Animal Shelter. One got the sack and the other was retained and retrained.

I wonder how often this sort of thing happens? I have a lot of respect for shelter employees but I just have doubts about how a cat’s character is assessed across the country.

Is there a nationally agreed protocol on this?

Feb 05, 2012 ‘aggressive’ cats
by: leanne

its sad that these things are happening to ‘aggressive’ cats. any animal in a situation that he finds frightening or intimidating is going to react accordingly, surely this must be recognised. we have a tom cat with us at the moment, timmy, he lived for almost 10 years with his owner until the old man was unable to look after himself and was put into a care home by his family, however no-one wanted timmy and he came to us. he is a very large cat but very handsome. i picked him up one day, after he’d been with us for a week or so and had been fussed and petted, his reaction was quite extreme. he sank his teeth into the back of my hand and held on, growling. i put him back in his pen as quickly and quietly as i could so as not to upset him further. when i checked my hand, i realised the mess he’d made of it. over the next few days my hand became very swollen and was probably the most painful cat bite i’ve ever had, i could barely move my fingers they were so swollen, but after nearly a week, the swelling went down and my hand healed. i would never blame timmy for this, i picked him up without first preparing him for it, i probably startled him and being such a big cat his elderly owner had probably not picked him up much anyway. none of this was timmys fault, i have since tried to pick him up but he hates it, but he enjoys being fussed and petted. anyone who decides to take timmy home will be told about his likes and dislikes. he is a lovely cat but for this querk so we would never think of having him pts because he bit me. it is a shame that other cats are being pts because they are in a foreign environment and are probably terrified and under normal circumstances would never react aggressivly. i understand that workers maybe dont have much time to assess these cats but surely they can tell a frightened from a truly feral cat. we never put any animal to sleep unless its on the vets advice because of illness, timmy is quite safe until a new family is found for him.

Feb 04, 2012 Cats WILL react to negative stimuli!!
by: Anonymous

How tragic that such a high percentage of out babies are killed (EUTHANIZED) due do the wrong stimuli used while testing felines, cats are very sensitive worse if these precious animals are caged & handled by stranger that might not like cats, when stressed cats will react in a detrimental manner.
If we’re having a very sensitive medical procedure done, surely your blood pressure will increase dangerously, cats have feelings/emotios same way humans do.
Obviously this type of testing on felines MUST reconsidered/changed to reduce number of felines killed for WRONG reason.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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