Shelters Across The United States are Experiencing a Boom in Abandonment of Cats and Kittens


On Friday, an Idaho family had a tough time deciding which cat or kitten to adopt: 329 cats and kittens had been abandoned or taken in by the shelter in the past ten days.

Some families can’t afford the expense any longer and turn their animals in to the local shelter. Far worse, many more people are moving and leaving their pets behind to fend for themselves, as happened to “Prince Chunk,” the 44-lb New Jersey cat who made national news earlier this year. Just this weekend, in my own neighborhood I saw two “FOUND” animal signs — something I’d rarely seen before — and it wouldn’t surprise me if these foundlings were foreclosure victims.

Like many shelters, the Idaho Humane Society has maxed out its capacity of 150 and its foster-care sysem. Hoping to accelerate the stagnant adoption rates, they’re offering a “free to good home” promotion through the end of this month. Officials are hoping that donations will help defray the costs.
It used to be, the IHS would take in 10 to 15 abandoned or neglected cats daily. On October 8th, it took in 85 cats and adopted out only one.

The problem that the IHS is experiencing is not endemic — shelters across the United States are experiencing a boom in abandonment. What can you do to help your local shelters?

  • If adopting, consider adopting a pair of cats instead of just one. Many shelters have littermates or longtime companions that need to be adopted out together, and adopting a pair eases the transition process for both.
  • Offer to be a foster family for a local shelter.
  • Donate food or other needed items. Some shelters with websites have a wishlist of items they need donated.
  • If you’ve been considering adoption but haven’t yet taken action, now would be an excellent time to give a cat a new lease on life.