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Curious question about shelter cats.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was wondering how many cats end up in shelter for the sole reason of inappropriate elimination/spraying?

I was out at our local Humane society yesterday dropping off some items for the animals there and got to thinking about that particular issue. I have heard stories of people adopting cats from shelters that had terrible problems with either inappropriate urination or spraying.

I am not in the market for another cat/kitten or dog/puppy , but, if I ever did consider getting another cat, if I couldn't get another British shorthair, I would consider a shelter cat. Would this be something to be majorly concerned about? Again, not looking for a kitty now, but, this is something I've wondered about for awhile.

Cindy W.
post #2 of 12
Cindy, Any reputable shelter will tell you why the cat was turned in to the shelter. They don't want to adopt out a cat who will anger its new people and risk being dumped on the streets or returned to the shelter.

With that in mind, many people do give up their cats because of problems with inappropriate elimination. The sad thing is that stopping potty problems is pretty easy to do if you know how, AND the most common cause of inappropriate peeing is a urinary tract infection or other medical cause. So, most often, all it takes is a week or so of antibiotics to clear up the problem.

I've worked with people who were going to take their cat to the shelter for peeing outside the litter box...and when I told them to change the litter and take the lid off the box, the inappropriate peeing stopped immediately! To imagine that they almost got rid of the cat when all that was needed was unscented litter and an unhooded box! Sigh......

Anyway, take the chance on adopting a shelter cat! You won't regret it!
post #3 of 12
also bare in mind that some people who surrender animals are less than honest about the reason they are doing so.
post #4 of 12
Also, many of the animals at shelters, at least at my local shelter, are very young kittens who have no behavior problems at all. The owner of the mama cat just sees bringing the kittens to the shelter as a legitmate method of dealing with the litters that she produces.
post #5 of 12
I don't have any statistics about how many are turned in for litterbox problems, but this has been my personal experience.

Of all the adult foster cats I've had, 18 so far, the only one who ever peed outside of the box was one who had a bad bladder infection. Some of the kittens made a few mistakes before they were 6 weeks old, but that was because they were learning, and the three 12 week olds never made any.
post #6 of 12
I don't have a stat on the litter box problem, but I was just on the Feral Cat Coalition page and they state that the United States kills 15 million unwanted animals every year.

I get a rescue newsletter every day that reports on the shelter in Austin. Seems like lately the biggest excuses for dumping a cat at the shelter are: Moving, Cost, followed by Not Enough Time. Not too many behavior problems listed. We generally see that excuse used for dogs.

But I say give a shelter kitty a chance! Most of them ended up there because their OWNER had a PROBLEM!
post #7 of 12
as the 'cat lady' for the past year and ahalf I'd say most of the cats are dropped off because the owner decided they 'just coudn't handle them anymore.' That is to say, they were tierd of taking care of the cat(s). Kittens are often brought when they reach the age of about 4-6 months and turn into little agents of chaos isntead of being cute little pompoms with eyes that purr.

We also get many kittens from people who just can't get around to having their cats spayed. One woman purposely let her cat have kittens then brought mom and kittens. grrrrrrrrr. I give them the low-cost spay neueter pamphelt we have and know I'll see them in another four months...

We just had 9 kittens with 2 moms brought in. The moms appeared at the lady's house & had the kittens under the house. at least those ppl brought them in, brought food donations and a big coffeecan full of coins (which totalled $83). I don't mind people like that so much, they are trying to help.

All the declawed cats that have been turned in have been for behavioral problems,a lot of not using the box and some nipping. One boy, TC, that I fostered was turned in for missing the box ONCE in his TEN years!!! Tell me that any human male has such a good record! the only time I had a problem with him was when I'd been sick and hadn't changed his box as often as usual. He was recently adopted out

I've seen several cats turned in for "biting" and never seen anything but little love-nips from them.

One cat, also a declaw, that I adopted does have an attitude problem. He will be sweet, then all of a sudden hisssss and lash out wiht his feet. He often hisses again when his feet connect with somethign, i think it hurts him. poor guy.
After a few days of hissing at me and not getting any satisfying reaction (he seems quite pleased if he can scare someone) he quit doing it. He will hiss if I pat him too hard, and thus put more pressure on his front feet.

I try to talk with cat owners about behavioral problems, but most of the time it seems that they have already decided not to deal with it

Bendy's mom
post #8 of 12
Here's another winning excuse to dump a cat:


In the stray building, cage 26, with identification number 278024, is Snowflake, a sweet and gorgeous, 9-month-old, spayed female domestic short hair. Snowflake was dumped at TLAC by her guardian because they can't afford cat litter anymore. She is a lovely and social girl. She will not go into the adoption program.

See her: http://malford.ci.austin.tx.us/tlac/photo/a278024.jpg

I'm not sure why they won't put her in Adoption...probably b/c they are overcrowded. Her deadline is today at noon. sigh. I wish they would send the original "owner" a photo of their dead cat. I know the economy is bad...but come on, cat litter is cheap compared to food. I think I'd be out begging on the corner before giving up my cats.
post #9 of 12
Oh, that's tragic. The cat has only an hour or two to live? That beautiful baby? I know sand or dirt is not the best, but cat litter is a relatively new product. What did people do before? What do cats use when they go outside? This is ridiculous. Oh, I hope someone or something intervenes and saves this beautiful animal!
post #10 of 12

Stories like this are the reason I ended up with 9 cats. Number 5 was a mama cat who brought 4 two-day old kittens (numbers 6-9) with her. No one I knew & trusted was in the market for a kitten. Because we could not find what we felt were suitable homes with people we knew, we kept them. I never wanted to go into PetSmart and wonder if one of the kitties for adoption was one of mine.
post #11 of 12
The Travis County Humane Society rescued Snowflake! They promised to provide her with PLENTY of cat litter! haha I was so happy when I found out. She is still a baby. Just nine months old.
post #12 of 12
I forget who posted this, but they are correct when they say most people have already decided NOT to deal with a correctable behavior issue such as inappropriate elimination.

Just recently a woman contacted our group to give up her 12 year-old Siamese. The kitty had started to pee on the kitchen counter and she claimed they 'just couldn't figure out why'

I sent her a few emails...and gradually the REAL story began to emerge. She had two other cats, younger males who would guard the litterbox and not let the older cat use it.

I talked to her about isolating either the older female or the bully boys in a separate room. I suggested getting another litterbox. I even gave her my behaviorist's home number and email so she could get some real 'expert' advice.

Yes yes,yes she said. "That's a good idea, but..."

But what? You like cleaning up cat urine everyday?

You don't even try to understand what your kitty is going through and refuse to help her?

Her reasons...didn't want to get another litter box b/c her two year-old child liked to dig in it. (Ok, SPANK your kid lady.) She didn't want to deal with correcting the males behavior b/c she thought she'd probably 'have to get rid of them too' b/c she is expecting another baby this March...(so?)

Oh yes, the icing on the cake was when her husband/boyfriend called our group leader and said if the 'damn vet' wouldn't euthanize the cat and if we wouldn't take it, he 'had a 2' deep hole ready in his backyard.'

I have no use for people like this. I want to ask that man what he plans to do with his mother when SHE can't control her bladder anymore and pees on his sofa. Is he going to dig a hole in the yard for her too?
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