The Katrina Pet Syndrome: a few comments on the duct-taped cat

When the story of the duct-taped cat made the news, the shelter received over 100 applications to adopt her, and at least three people tried to claim ownership of her.

She was adopted by a family that has asked to remain anonymous. Good decision; it reinforces that they are more interested in taking care of the cat than in being heroes.

I have to wonder if the 99 others who applied to adopt her realize that this shelter has hundreds of other cats and kittens all equally deserving of loving homes? How many of these 99 people took a look at the other cats at the shelter or the cats at any of the hundreds of other shelters within a 30 mile radius?

Animal shelters across the country are overflowing with tens of thousands very nice cats and kittens. Not to mention all the dogs. Many of these animals have histories as sad as the duct-taped cat, arriving at the shelter from neglect, abuse, rescued from puppy mills, surrendered by irresponsible and clueless owners (not to imply that all or most people who have to surrender a pet are irresponsible).

This is the same thing that happened following Katrina...shelters all over the country took in cats and dogs from New Orleans and Mississippi which were supposed to be fostered while the shelter made their best efforts to locate the animals' owners who were displaced by the storm and flood.

And potential adopters came out of the woodwork - most of them not already looking for a cat or dog to adopt. Most seemed to believe that the Katrina cats and dogs were more deserving than the cats and dogs that were already at the shelter.

Some shelters that took in Katrina animals euthanized animals already there to make room for their new celebrities.

Then the predictable happened: a year or two (or less) after some of these Katrina animals were adopted they began to show up back at shelters, or advertised on Craigslist. The novelty wore off and the new owner got bored, or no longer wanted to put the time into taking care of it. Or they realized that a Katrina dog will chew up their favorite shoe just like any other dog. Or a Katrina cat might have some "issues."

Every time an abused cat or dog makes the news, the shelter receives hundreds of applications. I hope that when this happens, the shelter gives highest consideration to applicants who have already adopted from them, or those already looking for a pet to adopt.

If you have the room in your home, your life and your heart for a cat or dog you will find the ONE for you at a local shelter. Don't be impulsive. Visit the shelters as many times as you need to decide. Very often your new cat or dog will choose you when you allow it to happen.


UPDATE on cat found duct-taped in Philly

Last week, 19-year-old James Davis, of the 2100 block of 22nd Street, was taken into custody after he admitted to duct-taping the cat because he was "annoyed."

He said that he saw the cat in his backyard and he didn't know what came over him.

Officers also say Davis left the duct-taped cat in his yard for several hours but because it was screaming so much, he dumped the cat across the walkway.

The SPCA received information about Davis throughout their investigation. The agency was offering a $2,000 reward for an arrest in the case. Davis' yard backs up to the property on Edgely Street where the cat was found.

The cat has been adopted; the PA-SPCA received over 100 applications her.