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Animals 2015, 5(2), 276-314; doi:10.3390/ani5020276

Determinants of Cat Choice and Outcomes for Adult Cats and Kittens Adopted from an Australian Animal Shelter

1,* , 2,‡
,
3,‡
,
3,†,‡
,
4,‡
and
1,‡,*
1
Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, School of Veterinary Science, University of Queensland, Gatton Campus, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
2
RSPCA Queensland, Locked Bag 3000, Archerfield BH, QLD 4108, Australia
3
School of Veterinary Science, University of Queensland, Gatton Campus, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
4
School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University, Bendigo, VIC 3552, Australia
Current address: Jemora Pty Ltd., P.O. Box 2277, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marina von Keyserlingk
Received: 23 February 2015 / Revised: 13 April 2015 / Accepted: 16 April 2015 / Published: 29 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management and Welfare of Shelter Animals)
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Simple Summary

Commonly, more adult cats than kittens are euthanized in animal shelters. We surveyed 382 cat adopters to assess adoption outcomes and potential determinants of adopters’ choice of cat age group and price. Most adopters had benevolent motivations for adopting from the shelter and had put considerable thought into the adoption and responsible ownership requirements. However, adult cat adopters were more likely to have been influenced by price than kitten adopters. Adoption outcomes were generally positive in all age and adoption price groups. This study provides evidence to inform the design of strategies to encourage adult cat adoptions.

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: adult cat and kitten adoption; cat choice; low-cost adoption; animal shelter; unwanted cats; shelter medicine; cat adoption outcomes adult cat and kitten adoption; cat choice; low-cost adoption; animal shelter; unwanted cats; shelter medicine; cat adoption outcomes
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zito, S.; Paterson, M.; Vankan, D.; Morton, J.; Bennett, P.; Phillips, C. Determinants of Cat Choice and Outcomes for Adult Cats and Kittens Adopted from an Australian Animal Shelter. Animals 2015, 5, 276-314.

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