Education is the key to minimising the number of cats given up to shelters. Better job prospects and higher incomes flow from good education. Many more cat owners on low incomes abandoned their cats than those on decent incomes.
By far the most common time at which cat abandonment takes place is during the first year of cat ownership.
You can see a profile developing from the information above which comes from studies. It would possibly be a woman (60% are women) in her 30s who lacks a good education and who wants or accepts a cat from a friend and who decides within 12 months that she no longer wants it. She gives it up to a local shelter and makes up a reason for it, the most common of which is that a family member or members are allergic to cats or she is moving home (going into rented accommodation).
The lower the income the more likely the person will abandon a cat – forty-four percent of abandonments are from low income individuals earning under $12,500 per annum at 2007.
Cat owners who give up their cats often lack adequate knowledge of how to look after a cat. Over half thought that animals are better off having a litter before being spayed, which is a key reason for the creation of unwanted cats.
The most common age range of abandoned cats is from 5 months to 3 years. More female cats than males are abandoned. About half of abandoned cats are neutered.
Surprisingly over eighty percent of relinquished cats were full-time indoor cats or rarely went out. The most common source of adoption was from a friend.
Source: various studies
P.S. These are generalisations. There are many exceptions.