Many Cat Shelters Are Legalised Cat Hoarders. Discuss

At its heart, cat hoarding is about trying to care for a large number of animals without the ability or funding to do the job properly resulting in a negative impact upon the welfare of the cats to the point where many of them die.

When an individual person is involved with cat hoarding that individual may be mentally ill slightly to varying degrees, it depends upon the person (delusional and OCD disorders come to mind).  But not all cat hoarders are mentally ill.  Many simply can’t cope and perhaps can’t admit it while at the same time their cats become ill.  Cat hoarders often deny or don’t recognise the deteriorating health of their cats.

Does this sound familiar?  Many cat shelters are apparently underfunded or under resourced.  Many cat shelters have many cats coming in but not enough homes to go to.  Often in the news media you read about cat shelters being swamped with an influx of cats particularly during the breeding season.

You often hear about high kill rates at shelters because the shelter cannot find homes for the cats.  Often these kill rates are as high as 70% and more although that figure is gradually declining across United States.  These cats come into the shelter healthy but unwanted and leave the shelter by the back door sometimes into a gas chamber where they are euphemistically euthanized but actually ‘killed’ is the right word.

There is certainly a great similarity between an overstretched shelter that does not employ strictly no kill principles and a cat hoarder who is in charge of her faculties but can’t cope due to time and funding issues.

On that basis, Harvey Harrison, a regular visitor to this website, has a point.  You could argue that some cat shelters are legalized cat hoarders in disguise.  The disguise is that they present to the world an image of being a cat shelter – a place where cats are sheltered, looked after and re-homed – but this is not always the case, quite obviously.

However, there is possibly a difference because at a cat shelter there is at least a concern, usually, for the welfare of the cats while they are alive at the shelter.  Yes, many are killed deliberately and also many are vaccinated and cared for reasonably with the assistance of a vet. The staff should be trained etc.. The general tenor is to help the cats while they are at the shelter but of course this is dramatically spoilt by the other fact that they are often deliberately killed because no one wants them and sometimes (rarely?) I recall reading that declawing is mandatory.

Perhaps it could be argued that deliberately killing a domestic cat is worse than allowing a cat to die through negligence and neglect, which is what happens at the home of a cat hoarder. Do you think that some cat shelters should be redefined as cat hoarders?

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Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


Many Cat Shelters Are Legalised Cat Hoarders. Discuss — 13 Comments

  1. The big problem with cats is that they reproduce like crazy unless effective measure are taken to control their fertility rate. Their numbers can soon get out of control and well-meaning cat carers can soon wander into the category of hoarder.
    This is because under natural conditions the attrition rate of cats and especially their kittens is very high. 2 litters each of 5 or 6 per year is barely adequate to maintain a survival rate. But a close associations with humans has altered all of that with a much higher survival rate, and this can cause quite a lot of problems.

    • Yes, this is why there is a high responsibility on cat caretakers to manage the situation. The biggest problem that we have in the world of cats is cat caretakers who are not responsible enough towards their cats to ensure they don’t breed because the consequences of that are often catastrophic and varied.

  2. It’s lack of education all round, about cats in the USA, they are not valued as they should be, there wouldn’t be full Shelters if only people would accept that cats are for life, not just to dump when it’s inconvenient to have them around any more.
    The whole subject of cats needs a complete overhaul, from neutering, to declawing, to thinking of cats as family members.
    Especially all Kill Shelters should be stopped from murdering innocent healthy cats who are in them because of the uncaring, unfeeling people who walk away and leave them to their fate.

    • You are right and I completely agree with you, Ruth, that there needs to be a root and branch overhaul of our relationship with the domestic cat. There are many good aspects of it and some wonderful people caring for the domestic cat and feral cats but that does not hide the fact that far too many cats are killed unnecessarily. It is rather bizarre but I think quite enlightening to compare cat shelters with cat hoarders as Harvey did. There is a distinct similarity. No doubt any cat shelter manager who reads this will disagree very strongly and be surprised.

    • Killing in shelters will never stop until spay/neutering is mandatory.

      And, adoptive people, after being screened, should sign a contract stating that they will keep the animal for life. And, it should be enforced unless there is evidence of abuse.

      Kill shelters aren’t allowed to turn any animal away, so they become saturated.
      Cats are everywhere here. What would it feel like to walk down 2 or 3 blocks and see 12 cats hungry and needing a home? It’s heartbreaking. That’s why my car is loasded down with cat food.

      This country is 40 times the size of England. So, I know that making an across the board change is next to impossible. But, I keep shouting and won’t stop.

  3. Perhaps someone should enlighten the county kill shelters as to what they really are.
    I’m someone.
    But, like any other hoarder, they’re in denial.

    • It is an interesting comparison: to compare vilified cat hoarders with cat shelters who are generally praised but there is certainly a similarity although the managers of cat shelters will be horrified to see this comparison.

      I have to say, with regret, that some shelters see it as almost normal to euthanise quite a large percentage of the number of cats in their care. It is what I call a normalised situation and therefore as you say someone to tell them and enlighten them as to what they really are.

      • Gosh, I’ll let you know if the manager of my kill shelter here is horrified.
        I’ll bet not.
        These are “dead eyed” people, Michael, and they just go through the motions of caring.
        I wish everyone would visit a kill shelter and see this. It’s chilling.

        • These are “dead eyed” people, Michael, and they just go through the motions of caring.

          I had that in my mind. Sort of processing but lacking real concern for lives. There has to be passion in cat rescue to make it work.

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