As much as we try to make pets part of our families, there are sad times when those pets are given up.
A study conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP) sent researchers into 12 U.S. animal shelters to find the answers. These findings were reported in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.
Dogs vs. Cats: The Result is the Same
The study showed that the majority of reasons for relinquishing dogs and cats are essentially the same. The thing that makes the study valuable is that hard data is now available to answer the most troubling question for shelter workers: Why?
Armed with this data, we can now start to see patterns that have things in common. And that’s valuable because it will give us ways to address this epidemic.
The Top 7
According to the study, the top seven reasons people surrendered cats and dogs were identical:
- Landlord didn’t allow pets
- Too many animals living in the house
- Cost of Maintenance
- Owners having personal problems
- Home is inadequate for the pet
- No available homes for litter mates
Moving and The Landlord’s Rules
Moving is a huge issue especially when a family must change their residence from a detached home with a yard to an apartment. It isn’t as much of a problem with a small dog as it is with a larger one and a cat can usually tolerate smaller quarters.
The problem with moving and cats is, well, that they’re cats. Cats do not like change and can make political statements about their dislike of change by refusing to use their litter box – even with cats who didn’t have this problem in the past.
The landlord is another common element. Some people think they will be able to sneak a pet into a no pet residence and get away with it. That hardly ever happens.
Multiple Animals and Costs
These two go hand in hand because the more pets you have at home, the higher their cost will be. And as pets age, those costs have the potential to go sky high.
While pets can certainly be very valued members of the family and even seen as therapeutic, if the pet care giver’s issues are severe it becomes impossible to care for a pet.
Home Size Too Small/Litter Mate Problems
These two reasons are also interconnected because if you have a pet who has given birth, a lot is happening. Having a pregnant pet was not probably not planned. Then trying to squeeze in work while caring for a weaning mother and her babies? This could be a recipe for disaster.
The Final 3 Reasons – Dogs
We promised you the top 10 reasons why pets are surrendered and here are the last three for canines:
- No time for the dog
Dogs require a lot of hands on care that cats don’t. Walking at regular times during the day is critical because most dogs, while being house trained, are not trained to use a little box like cats are. Some small dogs have indoor grass mats where they can relieve themselves.
Dogs want to play. If you have a busy work life or social life that takes you away from home, a dog isn’t a good choice. There are many reasons as to why a dog may bite; from fear aggression, resource guarding or from being pestered to the point where the dog final says, enough is enough.
The Final 3 – Cats
And for our feline friends:
- Family allergies
- Not using a litter box
- Can’t get along with other pets
Cat dander can open a Pandora’s Box of allergies especially long haired cats. And reasons for refusing to use the litter box can be the result of any kind of change whether it’s moving or introducing new pets into a household.
Pets are a lifetime investment that can reap enormous rewards. If you’re ready to adopt, think about visiting your local shelter to give an animal a forever home.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com