I am not going to add a lot a words to this picture of a child grabbing the ear of a cat. Incidentally the cat appears to be an Exotic Shorthair, the shorthaired version of the flat-faced Persian.
Suffice to say that it is a nice pictorial example of how a child left alone with a cat in the home can mishandle the family cat. The cat could strike out with her claws and scratch the child anywhere: the hands or even the face. The child screams. The mother comes running and sees blood all over her child’s arm.
If she had already been considering getting rid of the cat because she wasn’t that keen in the first place or she believes that cats suck the air out of babies or kill them with toxoplasmosis etc. she’ll ring up the local rescue and make enquiries about relinquishing ‘it’.
One thing can lead to another. If the cat is old and considered unattractive by the people who choose cat adoption on the basis of the cat’s attractiveness she/he may end up being unwanted and euthanised all because a child pulled the cat’s ear.
It is so important to make sure that children are fully trained in handling domestic cats in the home. We don’t know how many kids get scratched by cats. We do know that the most common explanation for giving up a cat to a shelter is ‘human lifestyle’ (health and personal issues) at 35% of the cases. Third on the list is ‘cat behavioral problems’ at 21%. ‘New baby in household’ is also a reason for cat relinquishment although less common than human lifestyle issues (Source: P.H. Kass in The Welfare of Cats).
Interestingly, female cats are more likely to be given up than males at 59% of the total. The most common age of a cat to be relinquished is in the 5 month to 3 year age range (40%); young cats. This is because young cats are more boisterous and play more. ‘Play’ means biting and batting which means, guess what?
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