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Effects of age and appearance on shelter stay

  • May 26, 2015 9:30 AM EDT

    This study centered on a no-kill shelter in New York state. The investigators examined adoption records to see if various physical attributes contributed to the length of stay in the shelter. The average length of stay was approximately 2 months. 

    Younger lighter-colored cats generally were adopted more quickly than older more darkly colored cats. Yellow cats had the greatest length of stay. Interestingly, coat color did not influence length of stay for kittens. However, coat patterns and breed designation did have an influence. Siamese kittens had the shortest stay, while domestic shorthairs had the longest. Additionally, those with torbie coat patterns had the shortest length of stay, while those with a tuxedo pattern had the longest among cats. Among kittens, tabbies had shorter length of stay than did those with bicolor pattern. Male cats and kittens had a shorter length of stay than females. 

    Efforts to understand the physical and behavioral characteristics that contribute to length of stay among cats and to then identify and implement strategies to reduce it are under way.


    Brown WP, Morgan KT. Age, Breed Designation, Coat Color, and Coat Pattern Influenced Length of Stay of Cats at a No-Kill Shelter. J Appl Anim Welf Sci.  2015 Apr-Jun; 18(2):169-80.

    • 4 posts
    June 1, 2015 6:27 PM EDT

    The cultural development of people who go to adopt a cat determines which kind of cat will be adopted - that's something that must not happen because dark color cats are equal to light color cats. It is very important to educate people about these things because they still have backward ideas about dark color cats. Furthermore the oldest cats should be adopted more quickly, but the real cases says that it does not happen, that is because, again, the cultural development of adopters. So, in conclusion, the most powerful resource should be the shelter owners - to educate.