In 2017, the Affinity Foundation published their White Paper on pet abandonment and adoption in Spain, and these were the main conclusions:
- The global figures for cat abandonment and shelter rescues are stabilising, but according to the latest data from 2016, 33,335 cats were abandoned or lost and rescued by animal protection centres.
- 40.6% of rescued cats at animal protection centres are adopted and only 3.6% are returned to their owners. This is primarily due to the fact that most domestic cats are not identified correctly or in accordance with the law, usually because of the mistaken belief that ‘cats don’t need to be because they don’t leave the house’ (in reality, many get lost... or end up abandoned).
- The main causes of cat abandonment usually stem from unwanted litters. Cats are especially prolific in terms of reproduction and can have several large litters. This is why unneutered domestic animals have a tendency to escape when they’re in heat—particularly if they’re able to go outside. For this reason, veterinarians strongly insist on the importance of neutering pets in order to facilitate population control and avoid abandonment.
Fortunately, society is increasingly aware of the need to contribute to a better world and to animal welfare. More and more people are considering adoption as the first option when getting a pet (in this case a cat). However, you should always ask yourself these questions before adopting a cat, in order to avoid problems later on:
- Do I have the resources to cover a cat’s expenses? Can I take on the costs of food, accessories and veterinary care to prevent or treat health problems?
- Can I dedicate time to addressing a cat’s needs for affection and attention? (The idea that ‘cats are independent and it’s fine for them to be alone all day’ is not necessarily true; most animals need attention from their owners, toys, etc.).
- Am I prepared to make some sacrifices in my lifestyle in order to adapt to having a pet? For example: giving up some outings or trips in order not to leave them alone, covering certain expenses to meet their needs, accepting that my house will be dirtier or messier....
- Is the whole family in agreement? Is this a mature decision that takes into account all the consequences, or am I responding to a childish desire?
- Who will take care of the cat if I can’t? Are cats allowed in my rented house or apartment? What if I have to move?
- Am I sure of what qualifies as normal cat behaviour? Do I know how to train a cat to prevent problems later on? Am I prepared to learn how to do so? Am I committed to adopting the measures suggested by a professional if I have problems at home?
- Do I know what I need to provide in order to ensure the cat’s well-being (nutrition, rest, hygiene, toys...)?
Finally, as one last recommendation, we must stress that it’s always advisable to consult a veterinary professional before making the decision to bring a cat home.
How about you? Have you adopted a cat or are you thinking of doing so?