Indicators of poor cat ownership in Melbourne Australia 2009

There is a study online on the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science dated 2009 entitled Admissions of Cats to Animal Welfare Shelters in Melbourne, Australia (link). It paints a picture of poor-quality cat ownership in Melbourne Australia and I will tell you why.

Stray cat Australia
Stray cat Australia. Photo in the public domain


The scientists investigated what was going on at one large Melbourne shelter over a 12-month period. In the abstract to the report, they don't tell us the name of the shelter. But they say that they tracked 15,206 cat admissions. They found that 81.6% of the admitted cats were strays. That means they were unowned but were likely to be previously owned. They had wandered away from the home and nobody had taken a blind notice.

They also found that only 4% of the cats coming in that year were sterilised. I'll restate that, only 4/100 cats admitted to this shelter had been either spayed or neutered. That is highly indicative of poor cat ownership. And if the cat was a true domestic cat the rate of spaying and neutering was at 12.8%. That is a little bit more than 1 in every 10. Once again, this is highly indicative of a negligent form of cat ownership.

Finally, they state that "the majority of cats admitted were euthanised". What they mean to say is that the majority of cats were killed because I'm going to make the presumption that the majority of cats were not in such a poor state of health that they had to be euthanised. 

Euthanasia only takes place, in truth, if it is more humane to put a cat to sleep than to treat them and bring them back to health. So, the scientists are using a euphemism to cover up the mass killing of thousands of stray cats entering a major animal shelter in Melbourne, Australia.

It does not paint a pretty picture. And it encourages the authorities to place restrictions on cat ownership because one aspect of this story is that when you have that many stray cats wandering around the environment, they have an impact on native species due to predation, which is of great concern to the authorities in Australia. There are two sides to the coin in this instance: both sides don't look good.

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