Acta Vet. Brno 2017, 86: 109-115

Rates of death and euthanasia for cats in no-kill shelters in the Czech Republic

Vladimír Večerek, Kateřina Kubesová, Eva Voslářová, Iveta Bedáňová

University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, Department of Animal Protection, Welfare and Behaviour, Brno, Czech Republic

Received September 1, 2016
Accepted February 17, 2017

Successful reduction of death and euthanasia rates requires the determination of factors related to death and euthanasia of cats in shelters. In the period from 2011 to 2015, 474 cats died and 240 had to be euthanized for health reasons in the three cat shelters monitored in our study. Altogether, death was the ultimate outcome for 33% of the cats admitted in the shelters. Out of the cats that died, 67.3% cats died within the first month and 95.4% within 6 months of admission to the shelter. Similarly, 65.0% of all euthanized cats were euthanized within the first month and 88.3% were euthanized within 6 months of admission. Since the majority of mortalities occurred shortly after admission, they more probably resulted from the cats’ poor condition at the time of admission rather than from the shelter’s environment. Females and cats younger than 6 months were at an increased risk of mortality. Autumn and summer were the seasons with the majority of fatalities. In general, the number of cats that died was almost double the number of cats that were euthanized; this suggests that attempts to cure cats were favoured over euthanasia, even in cases of serious health problems. In the fields of cat welfare and veterinary healthcare, the results enable increased attention to be focused on the determined risk factors and thus are an important prerequisite for a successful solution to the problem of the high number of deaths and instances of euthanasia of cats in shelters.


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