Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Decreasing Shelter Cat Euthanasia

Do what you can to decrease shelter cat euthanasia.

According to the ASPCA, about 1.4 million cats are euthanized in shelters every year. This is an astronomical number, and for cat-lovers, it's an unacceptable one.

Many of the cats that end up in shelters are strays, but many are also lost or abandoned pets. Here, we explore some ways that individual cat owners can help with the problem, so we can see that euthanasia number decrease.

Spay or Neuter Your Cat

We can't emphasize this point enough. A female cat of reproductive age that has outdoor access usually has one or two litters of kittens per year. Over time, those numbers can multiply and result in lots and lots of cats.

And it may not be as easy as you might think to keep your un-altered cat at home. A female in heat or a male that senses local females in heat may become an escape artist.

Even if you always find homes for all of your cat's kittens, the overpopulation problem is still being contributed to because those are homes that cats in shelters could have used.

And altering your cat has benefits other than reducing the number of cats born each year. You can learn more about the health benefits of spaying and neutering here: "Cat Neutering."

Visit Your Veterinarian Routinely

Routine veterinary visits for your cat means that medical problems can be caught and treated earlier. This can translate to lower veterinary bills and less of a chance that you will find yourself unable to care for your cat.

Take a look at this article, "Why Should I Take My Cat to the Vet?," and this one, "How to Be Prepared for Your Cat's Veterinary Bills" to learn more.

Consider Pet Insurance

When you get a new cat or kitten, strongly consider acquiring pet insurance. If you wait until later, any new conditions won't be covered.

You can learn about pet insurance and the type we recommend here: "Pet Insurance: Peace of Mind for Your Cat's Health."

Be Aware of Common Reasons for Cat Abandonment at Shelters

Owned cats are most commonly left at shelters or abandoned outside due to negative behaviors at home. Two of the most common of these are inappropriate urination and scratching belongings.

It's important that, as a cat-owner, you understand why cats urinate outside of the litterbox and why they scratch your stuff. Knowing the reasons for these common misbehaviors can help you identify issues faster and fix the problem before you feel like you must get rid of your cat.

We have extensive information on inappropriate urination to help you.

You can also learn about why cats scratch and how to train yours to use a scratching post.

Do Everything You Can to Identify Your Cat

Even if your cat stays indoors, it's important to do what you can to identify her, so she has the best shot at getting home if she ever becomes lost.

A microchip is a great, permanent way to identify a cat. You must be sure to keep your information current with the microchip company, so that if she's ever scanned, you can be found to reunite with her.

Visible forms of identification are extremely important for your cat, as well. A breakaway collar and up-to-date ID tags should always be kept on your indoor or outdoor cat.

Support Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Programs

You can help shelter cats in your area by finding and supporting low-cost spay/neuter programs. You may also be able to aid or start a "capture, neuter, and release" program. Over time, this can have a big impact on an area's feral cat population.

Volunteer to Be a Cat Cuddler

A recent study has proven that healthy, content cats entering shelters are more likely to stay that way if someone spends at least 10 minutes a day playing with, talking to, and cuddling them.

A healthy, happy cat is more likely to be adopted than a sick, cranky one.

Your local shelter doesn't offer cat cuddler positions? Share this article with them to encourage their development: "Love Increases Health in Shelter Cats."

Save a Life by Adopting a Shelter Cat

If you are able to provide a loving home to a new cat or kitten, please strongly consider adopting one from a shelter rather than buying one from a breeder. This is a direct way to save the life of a shelter cat.


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