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Determinants of cat choice and outcomes for adult cats and kittens adopted from an Australian animal shelter

By S. Zito, M. Paterson, D. Vankan, J. Morton, P. Bennett, C. Phillips

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Abstract

The percentage of adult cats euthanized in animal shelters is greater than that of kittens because adult cats are less likely to be adopted. This study aimed to provide evidence to inform the design of strategies to encourage adult cat adoptions. One such strategy is to discount adoption prices, but there are concerns that this may result in poor adoption outcomes. We surveyed 382 cat adopters at the time of adoption, to assess potential determinants of adopters' cat age group choice (adult or kitten) and, for adult cat adopters, the price they are willing to pay. The same respondents were surveyed again 6-12 months after the adoption to compare outcomes between cat age groups and between adult cats in two price categories. Most adopters had benevolent motivations for adopting from the shelter and had put considerable thought into the adoption and requirements for responsible ownership. However, adult cat adopters were more likely to have been influenced by price than kitten adopters. Adoption outcomes were generally positive for both adult cats and kittens and for adult cats adopted at low prices. The latter finding alleviates concerns about the outcomes of "low-cost" adoptions in populations, such as the study population, and lends support for the use of "low-cost" adoptions as an option for attempting to increase adoption rates. In addition, the results provide information that can be used to inform future campaigns aimed at increasing the number of adult cat adoptions, particularly in devising marketing strategies for adult cats.

Publication Title Animals
Volume 5
Issue 2
Pages 276-314
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
Language English
Author Address Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, School of Veterinary Science, University of Queensland, Gatton Campus, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia.mpaterson@rspcaqld.org.au dianne.stephens@outlook.com john.morton@optusnet.com.au Pauleen.Bennett@latrobe.edu.au s.zito@uq.edu.au c.phillips@uq.edu.au
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Tags
  1. Adoption
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animals
  4. APEC countries
  5. Australasia
  6. Australia
  7. Carnivores
  8. Cats
  9. Commonwealth of Nations
  10. Countries
  11. Developed countries
  12. Mammals
  13. Oceania
  14. OECD countries
  15. Ownership
  16. peer-reviewed
  17. shelters
  18. vertebrates
  19. young animals
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  1. peer-reviewed