Today we would like to address a topic that we are increasingly faced with. Sometimes people sharing a flat (who may be students or OAPs alike) also wish to share a cat or other animal, which is then considered a common possession.
The number of such ‘shared cats’ admitted to our shelter is increasing. At the same time there is also an increasing number of people living in shared accommodation who are looking for one or two cats at Samtpfoten. As a principle, we do not place our cats in shared flats, and this is why:
Our experience tells us that ‘shared cats’ lose their homes much more often than cats with a proper guardian. This may be for a variety of reasons, but shared accommodation generally tends not to be a very stable instituion: newcomers to the flat may be allergic to the cat or bring a dog to live with them in the flat, etc. If a dilemma arises, human needs are usually put above feline needs.
The idea of a ‘shared cat’ at first glance has its positive sides: responsibilities can be shared; the cat is always there and functions as a connecting link between the people sharing the flat. Beyond this romanticised picture reality often looks grim for a shared cat: doors are kept closed to maintain a little privacy, people move out and in frequently, nobody feels responsible for buying cat food or litter. People sharing a flat tend to be young, which means that they often do not how they will be living in the next few years and where. With older people sharing a flat and a cat, the future may be just as insecure. Cats however need a constant, reliable relationship to their human and this may last 10 to 20 years, just as long as the cat will live. In addition, cats do not find new smells in their surroundings exciting or stimulating. On the contrary, they find them alarming and disturbing and so they may react with stress symptoms or start soiling to give their flat a more familiar smell. And soiling is one of the most prominent reasons why people give up their cats for rehoming.
Placing one of our cats into such a home, which in our eyes lacks stability, contradicts our philosophy to put our cats’ wellbeing first. We consider it our duty to find the best possible home for our cats and we don’t believe shared accommodation is the best option.
We appeal to you not to adopt a cat into shared accommodation. Please consider the cat’s needs and adopt a cat only if you can offer them a stable home.