It drives me mad. People start talking about shelter animals and how sad it is so many are killed, maybe start throwing numbers around, and then they forget that most of animals killed in shelters are cats and focus on solutions that will benefit dogs, as if they’re interchangeable.
I can find no better example than this slide from a study done for the Shelter Pet Project. Look at it closely. Do you see it? They start out saying three pets per day are being adopted out now and show one cat and two dogs, and, in round numbers, that’s about right. They say an additional two pets per day would adopt out all the pets now being euthanized, and show one cat and one dog.
“Approximately 3.7 million healthy and treatable homeless dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year” True. But 1/3rd are dogs, 2/3rds are cats. Well, alright we’re rounding fractions off.
Take two dogs and one cat being adopted per day now, add one cat and one dog and you get . . . 3 cats and 2 dogs? That seems to be what they got. What the actual difference between their representation of Now and of the Goal, is 2 cats.
They also gloss over that difference of 4 per day happening in the West and only 1 per day in the South. Does that mean the South needs to increase it’s adoptions by 4 more per day, or that they need to ship animals West. (Here in Oregon, it was 1.5 per open shelter day in 2012. Guess they didn’t include us in the West.)
“Only 21% of pet‐owning Americans adopt from shelters and rescue groups” Yeah, but 44% purchase dogs instead. Only 8% purchase cats. Most people, 76%, get cats when their own cats reproduce, when their friends cats reproduce, or by adopting strays.
Using their figures, if just 29% of the people who purchase dogs adopted from shelters instead, all the healthy and treatable shelter dogs would be adopted. But even if all the people who purchase cats adopted from shelters instead, 31% of those who would normally adopt strays or from friends would have to adopt shelter cats to reach that goal. So what would happen to those other unwanted cats? End up in the shelter, do you think?
The 2.4 Million dollars Maddie’s Fund spent on the Shelter Pet Project could have funded 10 s/n clinics for 5 years, getting an additional 150,000 pets fixed.
We need to reduce the numbers of unwanted cats through effective spay/neuter programs, something completely ignored with all these big publicity campaigns for adoption.