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« Very Good Sentences - Experts against breed-specific laws | Main | New study points to many factors related to dog bite fatalities »

December 08, 2013



I think that's what the current discussion is trying to do -- differentiate between likely owned cats likely unowned cats with the distinction of having some form of identification. Maybe not the best way, but I'm not hearing a lot of better options and without a distinction, they legally are must be treated the same.

I guess I'm of the opinion that if we have shelters that are not trying, we need shelter reform more so than better laws. Because if they're just going to kill all feral cats, no scan for microchips, not do pictures, not be open for adoptions, etc, the end result is going to end up being dead cats...

Triangle's why I keep bringing up the phrasing issue.

When you phrase things in way that imply cats aren't going home, you're implying something about their owners. But since we don't know the RTO rate, we can't say this with any degree of honesty. I would hate to see owners punished for a factor that is entirely out of their control (the number of unowned cats.) Especially when the proposed benefit (adopting cats out faster) in my local area wouldn't even be true. So basically, I'm punished for a factor that has nothing to do with me or my actions, AND I don't even have the thin comfort of knowing my cat is adopted and alive somewhere.

The reason I want to keep the phrases honest is because the owners DO count. If you can honestly say "only 2% of cats, the vast majority of which are likely unowned, leave the shelter through RTO, and therefore we've decided the benefits outweigh the potential loss to owners"...well, okay. I may not agree, especially since I'm not at all convinced of the benefits, but the reasoning is honest and sound enough. But I truly find it discomfiting when the reasoning is running more toward "only 2% of owners look for or bother to tag their cats, so we don't need to worry about them."


I guess I just look at it from a shelter and cat's perspective.

If a cat comes in our door tomorrow, whether owned, unowned, feral, whatever, I know that it has a 1% chance of leaving our shelter by being reunited with its owner. Once we determine there isn't a tag, or a microchip, the odds go down from 1%.

So as someone who manages a shelter and is considering the statistical likelihood of how a cat will leave our shelter, I know that 67% will leave through adoption, and 15% are going to go to a rescue. 1% will go be returned to their owners. So If I'm playing the statistics of game of what is most likely the best case scenario for a cat without identification, it is for me to get it onto the adoption floor as soon as possible.

These numbers are remarkably consistent with high and low performing shelters. If we take value judgments of "right" and "wrong" out of the equation, and focus on statistically, what is going to be the safest option for the cat and what is going to maximize lives saved -- then it seems pretty clear that holding it in hopes of an owner coming isn't it, regardless of how you want to define the terminology.

Mary Ann

Brent, you say 67% will leave through adoption when Nathan Winograd is saying in his article that 60% die by the needle. Are you speaking solely of KCPP or are you quoting average statistics from US shelters?


Mary Ann -- that number is specific to our shelter and definitely isn't indicative of a national number.

That said, even shelters that have very high kill rates adopt out a significantly greater number of cats than they return to their original owners.

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