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Why People Abandon Animals

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Why People Abandon Animals by Lisa Towellprotographer23 / CC

I’ve been an animal shelter volunteer for more than 10 years. A lot of strays come in the door, but the animals who really touch me are the ones they call the “owner surrenders.” These are the animals who had a home and lost it, and over the years I’ve tried to understand why people abandon their animal companions.

I remember one handsome, friendly black-and-white tuxedo cat who was dropped off at the shelter a while ago. We had lots of other cats available, and the tuxedo cat wasn’t adopted quickly. He handled his new world very well at first, but as the weeks turned into months, he became irritable and unhappy. Eventually the shelter staff made the difficult but humane decision to end his suffering by euthanizing him. He was just 5 years old, and I wondered for weeks afterward if anything could have prevented his abandonment.

Sometimes people surrender animals because they think it’s the only possible solution. Perhaps someone with a severe cat allergy joins the household, and the family doesn’t realize that these allergies can often be treated or managed. Sometimes people are separated from their animal companions because they become too sick to care for them. Many people don’t know about the importance of advance planning for their animal family, and so their animal companions end up in the shelter. Saddest of all is when people die without having made arrangements for their companions. Often these animals are elderly and don’t adapt well to the shelter environment. Some of them never make it out of the shelter—they are scared or unfriendly, and potential adopters pass them by.

Moving is a frequently given reason for surrender. The paperwork for each animal tells the story: “Moving out of state and cannot take cat.” “New landlord does not allow dogs.” “Found cat in apartment next door after neighbor moved out.” “No space in new home for dog.”  But all too often the move is just an excuse. One study showed that more than half of the people surrendering animals because of moving also report behavior problems. In other words, the move often isn’t the real issue.

Behavioral problems are the most common reason why people give up their dogs, and they are the second most common reason for cats. Behavioral problems can be very serious, like biting or aggression in dogs. But more often they are common dog and cat issues like inappropriate elimination, destructiveness, barking or meowing, or not getting along with other animals in the home. Sometimes the problem is one of inappropriate expectations: “Cat isn’t friendly enough,” or “Dog needs too much attention.” Most behavioral issues can be corrected, but people may lack the knowledge or commitment needed to do the work.

People surrendering an animal with behavior issues don’t want to hurt their animal’s chances of adoption from the shelter, so they may mislead shelter staff and explain the surrender as due to allergies or a move. This makes it even harder for the shelter to find that animal a suitable home. Or the animal might be adopted, only to be returned by the new guardian as soon as the problem behavior starts.

I’ve come to believe that one of the most important jobs of an animal shelter is to reduce the number of abandonments through outreach and education. Many animal shelters now have printed information on coping with the most common behavioral problems, and some even provide telephone hotlines to help people work through issues. Shelters can help to educate adopters about the commitment involved in being an animal caregiver. It’s also important for anyone thinking about adopting an animal to consider in advance how they will deal with potential issues, so that they don’t end up adding to the numbers of abandoned animals.

Finally I want to leave you with a few resources. You can visit PETA’s “Animals @ Home” for some great tips on correcting behavior problems, dealing with animal allergies, and finding animal-friendly housingHere is some advice on solving litter box problems, a common reason for cat abandonment.

An in-depth scientific study on the reasons for animal surrender to shelters can be found here, and this PETA Living post provides a few helpful hints as well.

Do you know anyone who has given up an animal? Let me know in the comments what happened—and whether there might have been any way to prevent it.

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    Glen Johnson says...

    January 28th, 2010, 7:42 pm

    Here are also a couple of good resources:

    The Humane Society of the United State has information on introducing a new dog or cat to your existing animal companions, introducing animals to a new baby , and stopping your dog from barking.

    Kim says...

    January 29th, 2010, 2:41 pm

    My older sister is struggling with one of her cats, who urinates around the house and sometimes bites. She was so frustated one day after Jersey peed in the house again that she called the Humane Society and asked about the cat’s prospects if she surrendered her to the organization. After admitting that Jersey has bitten people numerous times, the HS said that they wouldn’t be able to adopt her out and would have to euthanize her. My sister decided to keep trying to deal with Jersey, but I am worried that one day she will give up.

    Do you have any ideas? I wish I could take over Jersey’s care myself, but my apartment building doesn’t allow pets and, since I am going back to school soon, my housing situation is up in the air regarding pets for a few more years.

    She really can be such a sweet and lovable cat at times.

    Clara L Bielecki says...

    January 30th, 2010, 12:40 am

    During the depression, hobos put a chalk mark on houses that gave them creature comforts. The next hobo coming through this territory, knew these were soft touches. I think somebody chalks my house for lost and abandoned animals in my town,which, by the way, has NO animal control. I now have 9 dogs and three cats. I live on a pension and am 72 years old. This is stressful and expensive for me but I can’t turn my back on them. I have found some nice homes for a few but once I went to the house and took my beautiful dog off the chain and brought him home.

    Pamela says...

    January 30th, 2010, 5:44 am

    Kim, is Jersey actually drawing blood or just nipping? If a cat really wants to do damage, they usually use their claws. It could be that Jersey gets very excited when petted and expresses it by putting her mouth around the hand or arm. This may leave tooth marks, but is not biting in a retaliatory sense. Please check out catster.com, they are an excellent site for cat owners and address many problems, including biting and inappropriate elimination.

    Regarding abandonment: I used to live at a senior mobile home park. When a senior is in difficulty, the people coming over to help, be they emergency services, relatives or friends, always throw open the door and leave it open. Out go the animals. Not once does anyone round them up or help and certainly won’t give them food or water. The animals are lucky if someone calls the animal shelter.

    Usually, seniors or disabled have no say when it comes to their animals. They are forced into going along with whatever they are told, including abandonment of their beloved pets. And, if you are low income or on Social Security, there isn’t any financial help available to make advanced plans.

    Priscilla Adams says...

    January 30th, 2010, 5:50 am

    When a problem with an animal can’t be handle by the vet or the owners, you can ask an animal communicator for help. I had the same problem with my cat peeing everywhere and the solutions was finally find by an animal communicator from LA.

    Tess says...

    January 30th, 2010, 7:41 am

    I I had a problem with one of my cats that I adopted when she was eight years old.
    I found that one of my other four cats was bullying her and not letting her get to one of the six cat boxes I have in the basement.
    Although I had acclimatized her to her new home over a period of about a month, it took another month before the others became more territorial.
    When I realized what was taking place, I kept ‘Maggie’ in my bedroom with a cat box and food and water for a couple of months. She had plenty of company and really didn’t want to leave the security of this safe haven.
    Now I let her out of the room every day for a couple of hours when the others are sleeping safely in another part of the house. Maggie has come to know that she is safe and will use her cat box.
    She was urinating on the furnace vents and it took a while to rid the house of the urine ordor. Now I place water bowls on top of the registers and I don’t have the worry of her re-offending.
    Yes, it’s a bit more work, but all my adopted pets are in their home forever.
    We just have learned to work around the problems that have been presented to us.

    Ruth says...

    January 30th, 2010, 9:16 am

    Kim,

    Tell your sister do not give up on Jersey, my mom had a cat just like Jersey
    and she worked with him and he changed.

    You do not give up on friends or family.

    Terry says...

    January 30th, 2010, 9:59 am

    A huge percentage of the human race is selfish and irresponsible.

    Michelle says...

    January 30th, 2010, 10:15 am

    I have a cat who urinates all over the house too and have had him for ten years. I actually have two of them who do that. Is Jersey her only cat? My one cat, Patrick, does it because my big orange cat, Mikey ambushed him in the litter box one day, so now he is afraid to use it. So I put a litter box in a dog crate with the door open so that he can see all around him, it did the trick. Cats do not bite out of anger or fear, they do it because they are being passionate. Is Jersey biting right after or during a petting session? It could be his passion is getting the best of him and he does not realize that biting is hurtful to humans. If the cat is biting out of fear or anger, than that is another issue altogether. Also, I am assuming that the vet has already ruled out a UTI. Infections can cause cats to avoid the litterbox because they associate the urinating pain with the litter box. Another thing, where is the cat going? If it is on a comfortor or other deep, plush area, you need to make the litter deeper and try a different type. If it is on a flat rug or carpet, try using less litter, a more shallow layer. In other words try to duplicate the conditions of the substrate the cat is using. There is a product called Felliway that helps to keep cats away from areas where they should not be. My personal e mail is Catadvocate@aol.com….please e mail me if you need further help.

    Susannah says...

    January 30th, 2010, 11:04 am

    I have three dogs, all Cairn Terriers. One, Nicky, 2 years old, has lived in FOUR homes before he came to live with us. The reason? “He couldn’t be housebroken.” For that, Nick was going to be put in the local pound! I took him. He’s adorable, smart and gets along great with my other two dogs. AND, I haven’t had any problems with housebreaking him. The problem was that the former person he lived with worked all day and kept him in a crate, so he never learned what to do when. He has a few “accidents” here and there, but he’s a quick learner and he’s a great dog to live with and we love him. A lot of “problems” that former households list are THEIR problems, not the dog’s.

    bella says...

    January 30th, 2010, 12:42 pm

    I had to get rid of my cat of 12 years because my grandson who lives with me was severely allergic to it – severe eczema and allergies (since three mos old) to the point he scratched himself till he would bleed and could not sleep at night – up every hour scratching – we tried everything but after almost a year of seeing my grandson suffer we did what the specialist told us – which was to get rid of the cat and everything he touched – our house was covered in cat hair. Hair on the couch, sofa, carpet, curtains – we had to replace everything. I asked a couple of friends if they would take him but no one would. I hated to do it but I couldn’t stand to see my grandson suffer anymore – So I took my cat to the SPCA – I love animals but I had to put my grandson first.

    Kim says...

    January 30th, 2010, 1:18 pm

    Kim…It sounds like she has more than one cat. I do TNR & I bring in alot of cats. I have 2 other cats. The most important thing is to keep a clean litter box, and have more than one. Sometimes a cat will not go in a box, if it is dirty, or too many other cats are using the same box. If the cat is stressed with being with the other cats, he will pie around the house. Sounds to me like (he)(she) needs to be reassured and needs some “Quality time”

    Lisa Towell says...

    January 30th, 2010, 1:45 pm

    Kim, Sorry to hear that your sister is having some trouble with her cat. The first thing I’d suggest is a trip to the vet to rule out any physical causes for Jersey’s behavior. The next thing is some detective work to try and understand the cause of the peeing and biting. Have there been any changes in the household, like a new human or animal family member? Has your sister changed anything about Jersey’s litter box (e.g. location, type of litter, frequency of cleaning)? Check out this link (http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/solving_litter_box_problems.html) for some solutions to common litter box issues. Your sister can also ask her vet for a referral to a good animal behaviorist, who can diagnose the cause of the problems and suggest ways to encourage Jersey to stop the inappropriate urination and biting.

    Jen-X says...

    January 30th, 2010, 3:14 pm

    To Kim, be sure to have your sister take the cat to the vet for a full examination. UTI’s can often cause some the behavior your describing. Underlying medical problems can sometimes be the issue. Other than that, a pet behavioralist may help.

    SANDY says...

    January 30th, 2010, 3:32 pm

    it s mostly the case with “owner surrenders” that people do not realise the extend of commitment an animal requires and when it hits them, then they are not up to it. when i talk to potential pet owners i always describe owning (for lack of better word) a pet as having an eternal 3 year old to tent to. that usually deters the uncommited. i ve been lucky enough not to have a pet with serious behavioral problems, but if i did, i d like to think i would not give it up, unless it posed a threat….congrats on your older sister, kim, for sticking with Jersey…

    Crista says...

    January 30th, 2010, 3:36 pm

    Hi Kim,

    My cat, Jimmy, was also going to the bathroom other than his litter box and I just kept trying to figure out why all of a sudden. Well, we moved to a smaller place that luckily aloud animals but our cats were used to a house and we had to move to a basement suite. My other cat, Boots, wasn’t giving us problems but all cats are different and Jimmy wasn’t handling the change as well.

    Finally, months after, I figured out he just wanted his own cat litter box. In the house we had two but because of the smaller place I got rid of one. As soon as I got the second cat litter box, Jimmy, stopped going to the bathroom on the rugs. Something so simple but it worked. Maybe, your sister’s cat just wants something of his own like mine. Hope it helps.

    Cheryl M. Dare says...

    January 30th, 2010, 3:56 pm

    Kim: One of the first things to do besides using an enzymatic cleaner to remove all traces of urine and feces everywhere the cat has soiled is to see that there is one litterbox per cat plus one. You can also place one litterbox in the place the cat soils. Are the boxes being disinfected with ammonia? If so, switch to bleach because there is ammonia in urine and the cat will think the litterbox is too dirty to use. Is the house-soiling in only one place? If so determine if there is another cat outside that window and keep your indoor cat from seeing it, keep the curtains/blinds closed so your cat doesn’t see it and feel threatened or territorial. Is another cat being territorial and not allowing the cat to use the litterbox? That’s when to add more litterboxes. Does your cat have to climb stairs to reach the litterbox? Be sure there is at least one on every floor. I should have said earlier that the very first thing to do is get the house-soiling cat to the veterinarian in case the cat has urinary or bowel problems. has the cat been declawed? Those cats can have tender feet for the rest of their lives and the litter you’re using may hurt to walk on. Does any of that help?

    Ms Lois Koch says...

    January 30th, 2010, 4:02 pm

    I believe most people really find themselves in a pickle when something happens such as different pet behavior. I believe it’s the last thing most people want when something does come up. I wish I could say something that could help. I’ve always been lucky in that I have never had the awful thing happen such as different animal behavior. Our animals were able to live out their time with us. My Husband died when they were long gone and I moved out of State to be with my Daughter.

    Rachel Beirne says...

    January 30th, 2010, 4:03 pm

    I can’t understand this, animals are not toys or crazes!
    I could never Imagine giving up my cat, she can be a handful at times, (she likes to knock things of my fireplace and dresser, always jumps on the table when we’re eating, wakes me up at 6 every morning) but I love this about her, I wouldn’t change her for the world.
    Animals are so kind, the never judge you and your pets love you unconditionally, which is a lot more than can be said for people.
    If you have an unruly child, would you give him up for adoption?
    Gizmo (my cat) is the best, I love her more than I thought possible and I will stay her Mammy until she leaves for a better place!

    To Kim:
    I’m sorry to hear this, here is a web site that might, you can download an E-book there http://www.purrfectcatbehavior.com/ or this ones good too :http://www.catsinternational.org/articles/index.html. Best of luck! xx

    Pamela says...

    January 30th, 2010, 4:12 pm

    Kim- the first thing for your sister to do is take Jersey to a vet, he may have a medical reason for his behavior and if it is ruled out then she can begin working on the situation as behavioral. If she can find one I suggest a vet that has a feline only clinic or one that has alot ot experience with cat behavior. These things take time, patience and lots of love-Don’t give up! When we adopt a pet it should be for a lifetime, we wouldn’t return a child.

    Mandi says...

    January 30th, 2010, 4:16 pm

    About a year ago, my husband and I decided to get another puppy for a playmate for our 1 year old pup, Cody. Cody is our baby and we wanted him to have a friend to play with when we couldn’t. We did not want another male because we did not want Cody to feel threatened, so we agreed on a female. We searched and searched for a suitable friend. Shelters wanted to much money and the internet lit up our email with scammers trying to get our money. We finally found our baby girl from a lady a few towns over. Her female had gotten pregnant and she didn’t want to put the puppies in a shelter. Sophie was the last of her litter and by far the best of the bunch so we took her home. I believe Sophie was a blessing from God because we welcomed her to our family the same day my Grandmother passed away. My oldest son took it very hard and getting Sophie helped him through. Cody was not fixed and Sophie needed to be six months old first. Long story short, she went into heat at 6 months and got pregnant. I knew she would have at least 2 pups, maybe 3 (mom and dad are small dogs). She gave birth to her babies on 7.10.09 with me right by her side the whole time. I even took the day off from work to make sure she was okay and to pamper her. She brought 3 beautiful pups into this world–Piper, Willow, and Marley. Sophie ended up having a hard time producing enough milk to feed all babies and by night time would run dry. My husband and I would take turns getting up in the middle of the night to nurse the babies. We felt like new parents again. I slept right next to mom and babies to make sure everyone was alright through each night. Fortunately, the homes that we had lined up for them fell through (they were with family and friends). I refused to put them in a shelter and my husband agreed so my husband and I decided to keep them. After all we had been through with them and after watching how mom and dad played with the babies and protected them, it was quite clear this was one family that could not be broken up! The babies are now almost 7 months old and I could not image a day without one of them. Everyone said we were crazy for having 5 dogs…until they see how they are together and then they understand. Sure we have had accidents in the house but they are babies, they are learning and now we rarely have accidents. They now know that the bathroom is outside, its just a matter of their little bladders being able to hold it. We really lucked out too because they have all learned to ring the bells we have on the door (taught Cody to ring bells when he was a puppy) when they want to go outside. Even right now as I sit here the family is playing. People with young animals just need to be patient and have more understanding. These pups did not go to a shelter because Cody and Sophie are not just our pets, they are part of our family. How can you just walk away from family like that?

    Tucker says...

    January 30th, 2010, 5:28 pm

    PEOPLE IF YOU DON’T WANT ANIMALS OR DON’T LIKE THEM,
    DON’T GET ANY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    READ UP ON LOTS OF INFORMATION ON HOW TO TAKE CARE OF……
    RAISING A……. ADOPTING A…….. WHAT HAPPENS IF?……….
    GET MY POINT?!?!?!?!?!?!
    PEOPLE OFTEN ADOPT THEM WHEN THERE BABIESTHEN WHEN THEY GET OLDER ,
    OLDER MEANING ANY WHERE FROM 1-20 (AND OLDER)
    THEY DON’T WANT THEM ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!! WHICH REALLY PISSES
    ME OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    DO NOT GET ANY PETS IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE CARE OF IT
    HELP IT,GUIDE IT,LOVE IT IN ANY WAY AND ALL WAYS YOU CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    NO ANDS,IFS,OR BUTTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    PLAIN AND SIMPLE DON’T ADOPT OR GET A PET OR ANY ANIMALS
    IF YOUR NOT COMMITED TO DOING ALL YOU CAN FOR IT IN ANY SITUATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ANOTHER THING THAT REALLY PISSES ME OFF IS WHEN PEOPLE ABUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    YOU WILL BE COUGHT AND WHEN YOU ARE YOU WILL BE CHARGED AND ARESSTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    AND YOU WILL BE HOPFULLY SOONER THAN LATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ANOTHER THING THAT PISSES ME OFF, WHEN PEOPLE HIT,
    IF
    THE ANIMAL BARKS OR IF THEY PEE INSIDE SOMEWHERE OR OUT SIDE THE LITTER BOX, TAKE HIM/HER TO THE VETS FIND OUT WHATS WRONG
    WHEN ANY THING IS OUT OF THE ORDINARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    “IT COSTS TO MUCH” WELL DUH DON’T, DON’T DON’T GET AN ANIMAL IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    PLAN,PLAN,PLAN, FOR VET VISITS AND THINGS THAT COULD HAPPEN!!!!!!!
    ALWAYS,ALWAYS ALWAYS HAVE $ PUT ASIDE FOR YOUR ANIMALS AND
    PETS, THEY ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT TO HAVE IN A FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Tucker says...

    January 30th, 2010, 5:35 pm

    P.S. WHEN YOU ADOPT A PUPPY, REALIZE IT IS A PUPPY, IT’S GOING TO
    CHEW AND RIP THINGS, THEY DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER UNTIL YOU TEACH THEM (THE RIGHT WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
    AND BE PATIENT WITH THEM, THEY WILL EVENTUALY LEARN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    IF IT’S A KITTEN IF IT’S A………………………………………………………….

    TEACH AND BE KIND,AND PATIENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Kristina says...

    January 30th, 2010, 9:12 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing that with people. It really is a sad issue. I have also been an animal shelter volunteer, and every day my heart breaks for those animals. I’n just glad some of them get their happy ending.

    VICTORIA ALESANDRO says...

    January 31st, 2010, 1:13 am

    Kim,
    There are many rescue organisations that have to fight to take animals from shelters who deny them the animals who believe that killing them is better than adopting them out. I struggle with the concept that killing an animal is humane. Who made shelters god? Why are they called shelters if they kill? Why are they all not just called REHOMING CENTRES? Why oh why do we agree to kill pets. Cats do not bite for no reason. Do the cat a favour and save its life and rehome it with any one of the rescue centres around your area that practice NO KILL policies. It’s the only progressive and humane thing to do. Make some calls, don’t give up like shelter directors do, taking the easy way out.
    Good luck and be persistent.

    danielle cartisser says...

    January 31st, 2010, 2:43 pm

    Every1 of th cats or dogs I have evr had were all strays, adoptions, or taken frm sum1 givin them up. I can’t turn away frm animals in need if I can do sumthin4 them. I even took home an iguana frm a kid who I ran in2 in nyc who cudnt keep it in th dorm& traded him $10 4him& took him home2nj. I also hav a hermit crab who has his on(safely watched) run of th house liketh iguana did cuz I feel like its a better quality of life4them2have interaction w/us & they seem depressed in th sumtimes tight quarters th industry sell as habitats. Neway I wish I cud take em all home but th other prob is vet bills 4multiple animals but I will continue2giv animals a long lovin life here@my parents home&where ever I may go in th future cuz they r my BESTFRIENDS&enrich my life in ways I can’t even begin2explain. I hav a dog who hates outdoors unless it s snowin lol&is 3yrsold& still goes2th bathroom in our diningroom on th linoleum but we clean it up&we took in a kitten born outdoors&is our1st completely indoor cat. My dads retired&still wrks fulltime 2pays bills etc&my mom&him 4 almost70 now. I am unable2walk4now frm gettin hit by a drunkdrvr while walkin home but wen I’m better I will encourage my dog2play outside w/me&hopefully he’ll go less in th house, he doesn’t like2go peepee alone outside&my dads th only1 tht can really do it but wrks a lot. I plan2 continue helpin less fortunate animals frm shelters&tht I find abandoned or take over carin4 frm others so they hav a happier better chance@an enjoyable life. I may not do everything as correctly as I shud but I’m learnin more&more how2change4 th better as an animal owner&I plan on bein way more active by volenteerin wen I’m all better& healed up&do wat I can4animals in need neway I can. Thank u Peta. -Danielle

    Chris says...

    January 31st, 2010, 3:51 pm

    I have 2 dogs, the loves of my life. One of my dogs was 5 yrs old when rescued a Pom, this little one had be through a nightmare of abuse and he has come a long way and is still coming out of his shell – my other one was a 3 month old Rotti Cross and what a chewer she was she chewed all my patio furniture cushions – 8 dog beds – a hole in our couch – and numerous toys, in less time than you can blink then one day she grew out of it, she was done teething. I agree with Tuckers comment just have patients, give your pets lots of love. I have never once regretted my choice in getting my pets they have given me more love and joy and still do.

    Julie says...

    January 31st, 2010, 7:33 pm

    When my mother married her new husband didn’t like her elderly cat Sammy. After several years of him complaining about having to let Sammy in and out, feed him, etc. she finally agreed to give him to a friend when they decided to buy a new home. He was to be a mouser in a Coeburn, VA home. I was horrified, how could she give a cat away who had spent his entire life with her, it would be like giving one of your children away! Anyway, we later found out that the very day the lady took him home he got out and was never seen again. Anyone who knows that area of VA knows that they have no animal control there other than shooting or poisining or other horrible means. Needless to say, I was upset with her for some time about it. I myself have a twenty year old cat who has not been the best of pets, however, he will live with me to the end, its the least I can do for him.

    Daisy says...

    February 1st, 2010, 1:24 am

    The world if full of bad people, that’s all they are, selfish, mean hearted people…And all their excuses are BS, I wish we could get read of those people the same way they do animals!!!…But God is looking down…shame on them!

    Tracey Stehlin says...

    February 1st, 2010, 1:48 am

    This is a wonderful article, which I will share with AS MANY PEOPLE As I can. I have posted it to my facebook, and recommend that anyone with one, do the same. It’s a sad but true reality…and certainly one that could be impacted much more positively, if folks would just think, REALLY THINK of the commitment that they are making BEFORE getting any pet. Thank You for this article…Enlightening, Sad and SO IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF US TO PASS ON.

    Higina Maria Mouco says...

    February 1st, 2010, 1:42 pm

    We are really very selfish two-legged animals. I have already made a few mistakes and lost one of my furry friends, the only one born in my yard. I made his mother suffer, but sweet Angel never grew any visible hatred for me though sometimes she looks at me in a very critica way which makes me feel very bad indeed.
    I keep asking God and all the saints to put Petzy on my way again, but they just don’t listern to me. Nobody visits me ( except their vet). Most of my four-pawed friends are abandoned ones (either as babies or adults). I would like to have a different space to protect some more, but it’s almost impossible.
    Maybe my words make no sense or I do not sound critical enough, But I feel I am nearly as bad as the others.

    kathy deleon says...

    February 1st, 2010, 5:37 pm

    I also agree with the posters here that these are just excuses, when I see a cat or kitten at the center that states 12 years old cannot keep “because of allergies”!!!! Please! I cannot imagine any day that I would put my cat or dog up for adoption, they are part of my family and just like another poster he wrote, it your child had a problem would just put them down or put them in a foster home?? Excuses will never work just be honest and say I am too lazy to help my family member with a problem or tell your new boy/girl friend that the animals came before them and they will stay, besides who would want a partner that doesn’t like animals. That speaks volumes about a person. I have had to move before and spent my time finidng a place that allowed animals, thery are available if you look hard enough. Just more excuses.

    robin says...

    February 1st, 2010, 5:47 pm

    Here is an index to several dozen free, detailed tipsheets for resolving (and avoiding) dozens of problems/issues with companion animals (mainly dogs): http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/dog_tips.php

    Lynn says...

    February 1st, 2010, 10:07 pm

    For KIM who has a sister with a cat who pees… we had that situation in our house and still, from time to time, have that problem with our cat. We took her to our vet who is also an animal behaviorist and found out that our cat:

    (a) does not like living with other cats;
    (b) is very particular about her box — we cannot change the litter brand and we have to be perfect with cleaning her box;
    (c) has a thing for warm clothing that is just out of the laundry; and
    (d) will from time to time spaz and pee on something that smells like another animal (usually my Keen’s).

    Knowing this, we have been able to limit her problem behavior. First, when our elderly cat died, we did not adopt another one so our Sophie can be the ONLY cat in the house. Secondly, we keep her litter box clean and do not change brands. Thirdly, if we cannot immediately fold clothes that come out of the laundry, we cover it with a laundry basket. And finally, when we visit other people who have cats, we either leave the shoes outside overnight or put the shoes away in such a way that they are standing on their toes with the heels out. With this, we have managed to almost entirely eliminate the pee problem. What was once a daily occurrence now happens maybe once a year. It took about a month and a half to figure this all out. It was worth it, though, because we now have a cat who has been with us for 8 years and is a great companion.

    Marg Durrance says...

    February 2nd, 2010, 2:57 am

    To Kim—one day a black cat appeared on my sundeck peering in the window with a blue collar on & I kept shooing him off the collar denoting ownership but after the 3rd day & he wasn’t moving I gave him some food which he wolfed down–he was looking through the sliding glass doors before that & saw my cats eating every morning. He was what I call a nasty cat–attacking my dog & when I did pet him & stopped would come at me with teeth & claws to keep my attention. I took him to the SPCA & was told to take him back where I had found him (lol) on my porch and they implied that I had encouraged him..lol I know a hungry cat when I see it. To make a long story short he had been dumped in our subdivision & the big “M” on my forehead did nothing after the snide remarks I had received from the SPCA so I drove immediately to the Vet|s & said neuter this cat, give him the necessary shots & I guess he’s ours (which I couldn’t afford) Surrender? I was told because he wasn’t mine I couldn’t “surrender” him. Really– define this word. “Zorro” (out of the night when the pale moon was bright came a cat named Zorro) is still with us & actually has improved. In hind sight I know he would have been classified as unadoptable & surely euthanized. As I say after 4 years he is not too bad a cat–I had lots of punctures & my dog jumped the 5 ft fence to get away from this strange cat which amused my neighbours but back to the subject—how can anyone surrender their pet? Ownership is a lifetime committment. Don’t take on a pet if you don’t own your own home!!! They are not a commodity–they love & trust & don’t understand abandonment ( which surrendering them) is the same. Smarten up people!

    Denise says...

    February 2nd, 2010, 4:56 pm

    It’s all too common, many people don’t do their research before adopting an animal. Choose an animal that fits your lifestyle. If you are not an active person who has lots of time to devote to a pet, don’t choose one that will require that. Know what you are getting yourself into before you adopt. Always remember that if you lose interest or get yourself in over your head, it is the animal that suffers.

    Lisa Towell says...

    February 2nd, 2010, 5:47 pm

    A couple of people have commented on the tragic issue of shelters killing animals. This is a heartbreaking problem in animal shelters, and results in a high staff turnover rate due to the stress of having to euthanize animals in the shelter’s care. Sometimes shelters must euthanize animals who come in with serious injuries or illness—if the animal cannot be given a decent quality of life, euthanasia is truly the kindest option. But in many shelters, animals must be killed because the shelter lacks the resources (money and staff time) to provide the animals with the medical or behavioral treatment they need. Worst of all, many shelters are faced with killing healthy, adoptable animals for whom there is simply no space. Shelter directors nationwide are struggling to find workable solutions. Some have declared a no-kill policy, which often results in the shelter needing to turn away animals at the door due to lack of kennel space. The animals who are turned away are often abandoned on the street, or dumped in an overcrowded nearby shelter, where they have no chance for a good life.

    Many animals do not adapt well to long-term confinement in a cage, which is the fate of dogs and cats who are not quickly adopted or taken on by foster/rescue groups. After personally seeing many cases like this, I’ve become convinced that euthanasia is a more humane choice for an animal who faces years of lonely and miserable confinement in a small cage, with no hope of adoption.

    With a nonstop flow of unwanted dogs and cats coming in the doors, shelters must make awful decisions every day about how to best help each animal in their care. I believe that the right long-term solution to this complex problem involves going after the root causes. Higher spay/neuter rates will reduce the number of unwanted litters, and educational outreach can help prevent animal deaths by reducing the rate of animal abandonment.

    glennlee says...

    February 4th, 2010, 11:26 am

    Just like with people, I think some animals have had such a bad life that they cannot recover and adjust. I have tried adopting some of these animals in the past, and have found that if we let it go too far, it can ruin our lives and the lives of our other animals. I think that sometimes, when an adoption fails, and an animal cannot adjust, it is best to take it back to the shelter and try another adoption. sometimes the animal that does not fit into your situation can find a home where they do fit in, and you will find one that fits into your situation.

    Amanda says...

    February 6th, 2010, 5:57 pm

    A couple of months ago my dogs woke me up pitching a bitch at 4am–we went outside to find someone had just dumped a little Peke in the yard. They’d written on the t-shirt he was wearing, “Hi my name is Wiji please help.” When animal control opened a few hours later the very nice officer who responded to this little dog in need so quickly wondered why the people who dumped him would go to so much trouble when the shelter would have gladly taken him in, I suppose at least some of the people who get rid of their animals know they’ve been irresponsible and are rightly ashamed.

    hadyn.rechtin says...

    November 16th, 2011, 4:32 pm

    hi my name is hadyn mckenna rechtin and i love animals i would do any thiing for animals i donate to the animals i love them

    paula says...

    June 13th, 2012, 12:55 pm

    i hate it when animals are abandoned!it makes me sad!
    :(

    Alex says...

    August 17th, 2012, 3:37 pm

    I had a cat for two years. I wanted a pet after I finished school and moved into my own place. I just thought it would be cool since I never had one. The dog didn’t work out because it needed too much exercise. I also work and was recommended doggy daycare….daycare I thought was too much money at the time. So, I got a cat.

    The cat was very cute and friendly. I trim his nails, brush his teeth, clean his ears, everything! He was OK with most of them but hated baths. I feel guilty every time I come home late or if I’m not home at night but I think that made him even more attached to me. He was sometimes annoying when I play video games too long, he meows in the hall way because he gets bored and wants attention. He would some times get sick too. The worst was his urinary tract infection. We went to the doctors and I fed him medicine and a special diet until he was back to normal.

    Everything was great for two years but one day I woke up and just wanted to change my life style. I didn’t want to scoop cat poop every day. Play time before bed. Set out food. Clean the house. A trip to the vet for everything so it doesn’t escalate or get serious (like the urinary tract infection). I guess I didn’t know what I got myself into and wanted to live like I did back in college again.

    So I abandoned my cat. I put on the papers that I was unfit and lack commitment to keep the cat. I was honest. He was adopted right away because I never saw his picture on the website. The saddest part is one year later I randomly browse the shelter web page and saw my cat, abandoned again. I went to check the paper and the owner’s reason was “moving.”

    Crystal says...

    August 29th, 2012, 2:53 am

    @ Alex pets are not toys, “I just thought it would be cool since I never had one.” Well I’m not sure if you ever thought about this, but pets are not here for our amusement. You should have one because you’re willing and able to provide it with a good life. Honestly, I don’t think you ever loved your pet. You don’t just wake up one day and decied to get rid of it if you ever loved it. Pets are not inconveniences when you truly care about them. It’s clear throughout your entire dtatement that you got a cat because you thought it would do something for you and not the other way around.

    jazmin says...

    November 5th, 2012, 8:16 pm

    this is just sick im a animal lover it just makes me want to cry stupid people in this world should be locked up

    alaceyia says...

    December 3rd, 2012, 11:51 am

    i think people who abandon their animals should be in jail cause i think abandon a animal is like abandoning a human

    Tamara says...

    December 7th, 2012, 2:12 pm

    I had a cat that bit too. But I loved him anyways. He was a tuxedo cat. I called him Chappy Top Cat. He has since passed away (RIP Chaplin) at a young age and I feel a huge void in my life without him as he had a significant presense in our home. When he did bite, I just figured it was his way of flirting with me as thats what felines do when they are displaying courtship. Courtship, now theres a word for you to ponder. Having animals is about courtship and commitment. If you are not fit to understand any animal is time, love, patience and commitment, you have no business getting one.

    Laura says...

    February 19th, 2013, 12:49 am

    My little girl was abandoned in someone’s garbage with her brother. My roommate found them and brought them home, and though neither of us would admit it, we knew they were ours by the end of the first day. They were so tiny – only eight weeks old. I spoke to someone at a local rescue organization who suggested that puppies that age being thrown in the garbage is indicative of a breeder who does not believe said pups will yield any type of significant payoff, usually because they’re (surprise) mixed puppies after a street dog gets in the mix without the breeder’s knowledge. While I would never change having my girl, I boil with rage any time I imagine this person ripping these puppies from their mother and litter mates and leaving them in the garbage for dead. She’s five months old now, and we are continuing to work with her on her only (and frankly, understandable) issue of separation anxiety. Once you commit to an animal you are responsible. My family has a dog who, while she is sweet with us, presents many behavioral problems. Looking back, she would have benefited from obedience training, however, it was OUR responsibility to make that move, and we didn’t. How is she supposed to know her behavior is bad if we never did anything constructive to change it? We recognize that now, and would never think of abandoning her based on a mistake we made! We do work with her now, and thankfully in her old age she has mellowed a lot, and is incredible with the new furry addition to the household. :)

    peter says...

    March 14th, 2013, 11:37 am

    we had a dog who was barking all the time and had problems with our neighbours but after some prof. traing we could resolve all issues.
    peter

    Christi says...

    March 27th, 2013, 1:58 am

    Life can be stressful and people don’t look at a cat or dog as sticking around for a decade or more. They only tend to focus on the current situation, and if it gets to annoying or stressful, they just free their conscious by getting rid of their “no longer cute” puppy or kitten to the nearest shelter. I know how hard it is. But after moving multiple times from boat to trailers to houses and being a renter, I’ve kept my cat and kept her happy, she’s been through it all with me, growing up, having a baby, a new puppy and I still keep my furry talkative companion because even though I’ve got a million things going on and I’m tired out or stressed some days, I still love her, and I could never abandon her, even though its been hard sometimes. I wish vet expenses where covered tho, and that in the tenant Act animals were permitted by law. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle. Landlords always not allowing ANY pets, and such. But I can’t get too mad because people do that to their own children, foster kids and all. There are so many sad things in this world, I try my best to keep my kitty happy despite all the odds. Remember pets are a long term partnership, just like a mortgage or marriage, if you have to move or don’t have time try harder! I that doesn’t work kick yourself in the butt and look in those sweet eyes of your pal. If you really have to make a change, meet people and find a new home for your pal directly so you know what kind of home your pal is moving too. Sometimes all you need is a breather, put your companion in daycare for a short time or have a family member take care of your pet. Take a breather, then later you might appreciate your pet better, and even miss all their quarky habits. Be positive! Don’t give up! :)

    ee says...

    September 9th, 2013, 5:38 am

    While this article is thoughtful and offers helpful information, I think the author has missed the most important point. One of the main reasons people abandon pets is the cost of medical bills – especially for older pets. Proper veterinary care for an animal can cost as much as it does for people, and in these difficult economic times a lot of people don’t have health insurance for themselves. Basic preventative care for younger animals is not too expensive – about $100 per year for an annual exam and rabies shots. But once the animal gets older and starts having problems such as arthritis, skin problems, diabetes, etc., people simply can’t afford the bills. They love the animal and don’t want to give it up, but they can’t afford medical care. So they let it go and hope the animal will get better, but it doesn’t. Then they are afraid to turn it in and be accused of abuse, so they abandon it. If the local animal control officers weren’t so punitive and more free medical care was available, a lot of this wouldn’t happen. A lot of people start off with good intentions, but then they become overwhelmed. This should come as no surprise. We live in a society where people can’t even take care of their children – why should we expect everyone to treat their pets decently. Sometimes it’s outright abuse and neglect, but more often it’s financial – especially with the elderly, and especially in this economy. There needs to be more outreach in this area.

    Common sense says...

    January 1st, 2014, 1:58 pm

    This is exactly why I won’t let my daughter get a dog or a cat. It’s a very heavy responsibility, what happened when she does to college in a few years? Who’s going to take care of her animals? That’s what I always tell her. I think individuals need to really think it through before getting a pet. It breakes my heart seeing them in shelters.

    catmom says...

    May 24th, 2014, 11:37 am

    So many behavioral problems are caused by the cat owners who don’t know how to treat a cat. Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell is a great show because it shows people how to take better care of their cats, and once they do, the “behavioral” problems go away. You can find previous broadcasts of the show on YouTube.

    Even a single cat needs two large litter boxes. You will see they use one box for solid waste and one for liquid waste. Nobody likes to get their paws dirty in dirty litter. Don’t fill the box with litter, just a couple of cups full, and leave the rest of the box empty. The cat will keep the empty part of the box free of kitty litter, and mound the litter on top of the recent contribution. They like to put their paws on the clean section of the litter box.

    Another thing that bothers me a lot is that so many people use clay litter. It creates a lot of dust that is harmful for the lungs of both the cats and the humans in the household. My cat and I tried a lot of different types of litter, she voted by using one or the other of the litter boxes. We finally settled on Feline Pine. It keeps the litter boxes dry and odor free.

    Never put their food and litter boxes in the same place. What human would want to have their toilet in the kitchen, next to their food? Cats are no different.

    Feliway is a good stress reducer for a lot of cats. Many more cats are stressed than you would imagine.

    I adopted my cat from the shelter and the former owner claimed that she peed on the carpet and played with it. She never once failed to use the litter boxes in my home. Obviously something was wrong with the litter box situation in the prior home and the poor cat was trying to cover the pee with the carpet, not playing with it.

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