There are several reasons why cats end up in cat protection shelters. The main reason is probably that cats that are not neutered or spayed have litters of kittens that cannot or are not rehomed by the mother cat’s owners. These kittens end up abandoned or handed in to a charity like the RSPCA that then has to put them up for adoption to the public. There are more kittens and cats available for adoption than there are people willing to adopt them.
Another reason why cats end up in the care of cat protection charities is that they have been abused or neglected. But often cat owners give their cats to a rescue charity because they feel that they can no longer cope with their cats’ behaviour. The behaviour exhibited by cats can range from scratching furniture to urinating on carpets: occasionally they can be aggressive or temperamental and do not mix well with young children in a family.
Many of those behaviours can be down to stress, and rather than abandon a cat or put it up for adoption, owners should consider tackling the causes of that stress in the hope that doing so will reduce the unwanted behaviours.
It can be rather difficult to identify exactly what is causing a cat to be stressed. But if they have started meowing excessively; over-grooming; scratching; hissing or fouling, it is worth taking some time to trace what could have caused any major change of behaviour.
Often, cats are stressed by change within the house. They do not know that we might like to move our chairs around, or change our furniture for new items from time to time. They certainly don’t understand why on earth we might bring a tree in the house and cover it in shiny balls once a year. A new family member or pet can also trigger a stress reaction in an existing pet cat. If your cat is an indoor cat, you may find that they foul on the floor because they find the smell of a dirty litter tray unbearable and do not wish to use it. After all, would you use a toilet that was dirty and smelly?
Stress is a biological reaction: stress chemicals flood their system and their behaviour is a result of this, not a result of a conscious choice or decision by the cat. It can make an adopted cat behave inappropriately, and it can also make a cat ill.
Don’t blame the cat – find the problem and fix it.