Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Four Facts You Should Know About Cats & Shelters

Via Alley Cat Allies - When we think of our local animal shelters, there are the success stories that we all love to tell—a rescued cat finding a safe new home, a heroic account of rehabilitation from illness or injury, or the heartwarming story of the cat on your lap right now.

But have you ever wondered what happens to all of the cats who go through the shelter doors and you don’t hear about?

Alley Cat Allies has put together a list of four things everyone needs to know about our shelter system that aren't what you would expect:

1. Most cats that enter our nation’s pounds and shelters don’t come out alive. Take a cat to a shelter or pound, and she might be adopted - but the likelihood is that she will be killed. At least seven of every ten cats in shelters are killed there. As for feral cats, nearly 100% are killed in shelters because they aren't adoptable.

2. More cats are killed in pounds and shelters than die from any other documented cause. That means more cats die in our sheltering system than from known causes including injury, abuse, disease, or old age.

3. Most pounds and shelters aren't required by law to keep track of how many cats they kill. Most shelters don’t report the number of cats killed to their state, and states that do require reporting typically don’t make those reports accessible to the public. Few pounds and shelters voluntarily reveal the number of animals they kill.

4. The policies of the shelter system are not aligned with what Americans want. The majority of Americans believe it is more humane to leave a cat outside than have her caught and killed. The shelter system provides poor justifications for killing healthy animals, like “We kill them to alleviate future suffering” or “We kill them because we don’t have any room for them.” But there’s nothing “necessary” about killing healthy animals.

Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. By establishing and promoting standards of care, Alley Cat Allies has brought humane treatment of cats into the national spotlight, now embraced by major cities and animal protection organizations coast to coast. To learn more about how you can help homeless cats visit, www.alleycat.org.


  1. mom used to volunteer for the local humane society. their save rate for cats is terrible. mom tells anyone who says they are taking a cat there that the chances of it being adopted are slim - no matter what they tell you over the phone. it is sad....

  2. We're so lucky to be in the rare position to volunteer at a no-kill shelter. But then there's the one across the city that's high kill. It breaks our hearts - and we see the toll it takes on the volunteers over there too....

    No, people need to understand that dumping a cat at a shelter is most likely a death sentence.

  3. thats one thing about recuse here they don't kill a cat if they are healthy unless they have to including ferals

  4. I am even luckier to be in the rare position to volunteer at an open admission shelter that takes it's survival rate very seriously. Their adoption rates rival most no kill shelters.

    #1 is true with exceptions. You need to know the reputation of the shelter and how they operate. There are open admission shelters with wonderful success rates in this country. There are also closed admission (aka no kill shelters) that can pick and choose which animals come to them and still their adoption rates are low and the kitties end up in hoarding or near hoarding states.

    #2 While not an admirable statistic, I would not want to see what lives these kitties would live if left on their own. In the US, a companion animal is killed every eight seconds, so if all of a sudden we stopped bringing these cats and dogs to the shelter where would they go? What kind of tax on their environment would they bring. Feral colonies that are manageable now would not be for long. Also there are many cats who die and no one ever knows. Either they are eaten by larger predators, or they die off the beaten path. To say for certain more cats die in shelters seems a little... well ambitious.

    I hate that we have to kill any companion animal. it would be nice if there were homes for them all, or fertile lands for the feral, where hey could live out their lives in peace, but there isn't. There are people who are not fans (to put it nicely) of free roaming animals and there are dangers both man made and from nature. I do not think it is optimal to euthanize, I do think it is necessary at this time, but will continue to work to help people understand we can get to a point where it doesn't have to be.

    And it isn't a matter of convincing people to not bring cats to shelters, it is a matter of convincing people to neuter their pets before their first litter.

    1. Connie - I agree that the problem with stray and feral cats starts with people who do not spay/neuter their pets. The reality is there are millions of cats in shelters and millions of cats in the streets. Low cost spay/neuter programs are necessary to reduce the number of kittens born each year. Only then do we stand a chance of finding forever homes for all the cats out there.