Example of how an animal shelter assessed a kitten's personality incorrectly

Below are the words of an anonymous person. I really do not know who wrote them. Also, they made this statement about five years ago so this is now history. It was a draft article which I never completed. I thought this woman's words should not be deleted and so decided to publish them on this subdomain website. They are wise words. Words that warn of the difficulty in assessing animal personality at shelters.

This is about as sad a photo as you'll see of a cat at an animal shelter awaiting adoption or death.
This is about as sad a photo as you'll see of a cat at an animal shelter awaiting adoption or death. Photo taken by: Delanie Pruit.

They are telling words because they remind me that not uncommonly shelter staff assess kittens and adult cats incorrectly as to their adaptability based upon their character. We don't know how often this happens but it is certain that hundreds of thousands (millions?) of shelter cats and dogs, on the planet, or perhaps just in the USA, UK and Europe are killed unnecessarily because they have been incorrectly assessed as feral or with behavioural problems.

RELATED: Delightful Cat Deemed Unadoptable By Animal Shelter Stress.

We all know that an animal shelter environment is not the best place to assess the character of an animal. They are stressful places. They are strange and noisy places. The whole experience is going to make even the best of cats nervous and how can a nervous cat present their best to an adopter? 

And if the cat is already slightly nervous and anxious the whole thing may just make them completely unadoptable. But take them out of the shelter environment into a foster home and you might be lucky to see the true character. How many times have you seen shelter cats described as aggressive and then re-assessed as being the friendliest cat that they have met?

RELATED: Temperament Testing Of Cats.

The story

"I recently saw a kitten listed on the Philly Urgents page. They list cats and dogs that don’t have much time left. This kitten would have been killed that night after closing if someone didn’t take her. Since I work with ferals, I went to get her, aiming to socialize and find her a home. 

She had a big sign across her cage that said, “Barn Cat Only.” I asked the shelter staff if she came in with a litter, worried that any other would be killed. 

She did come in with 2…one was already gone. When I met the other and saw how friendly she was, I knew they had made a mistake with the other.

I brought them both home. It didn’t take long to realize that the feral cat was just a shy little girl, but one of the friendliest cats I’ve ever had the pleasure of handling! 

She just needed her sister to help her relax, because she was sick and has vision trouble in one eye. How sad that she was going to be killed."

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