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Age, breed designation, coat color, and coat pattern influenced the length of stay of cats at a no-kill shelter

By W. P. Brown, K. T. Morgan

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Adoption records from the Tompkins County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, an open-admission, no-kill shelter in New York State, were examined to determine if various physical attributes influenced the length of stay (LOS) of cats and kittens. Similar reports from other no-kill shelters have not been published. LOS averaged 61.2 days for cats and kittens combined and ranged from less than 1 day to 730 days. Based on mixed models that accounted for lack of independence among attributes, younger, lighter-colored cats were generally adopted more quickly than older, more darkly colored cats, but yellow-colored cats had the greatest LOS. Coat color did not influence LOS for kittens. Coat patterning and breed designation influenced LOS in both cats and kittens. Male cats and kittens had a shorter LOS than female cats and kittens, respectively. Studies from traditional shelters also demonstrated the importance of physical characteristics to adopters. Given adopter preferences for companion animals with certain characteristics, methods to reduce the LOS for cats with the longest potential residences at the shelter require continued development.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 18
Issue 2
Pages 169-180
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2014.971156
Language English
Author Address Division of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Physical Education, Keuka College, 141 Central Avenue, Keuka Park, NY 14478,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals
  2. Animal welfare
  3. APEC countries
  4. Carnivores
  5. Cats
  6. Color
  7. Developed countries
  8. Fur
  9. Mammals
  10. models
  11. New York
  12. North America
  13. OECD countries
  14. peer-reviewed
  15. Pets and companion animals
  16. pigmentation
  17. prevention
  18. Research
  19. shelters
  20. United States of America
  21. vertebrates
  22. young animals
  1. peer-reviewed