logo - proactive sheltering use.jpg

Understanding Limiting Shelter Intake

What Do We Mean By 
Limiting Shelter Intake?

We all realize that there are cats everywhere.  For decades, cats have not been the focus of sheltering and spay/neuter efforts.  State laws are often called "Dog Laws" and some shelters are still called "Dog Pounds".  As a result, cats have been allowed to freely and frequently reproduce.  When people, and now some shelters, began abandoning them to the streets, the vast majority of cats were unfixed.

Today, there are easily more unowned cats than dogs.  Shelter intake should therefore represent that.  It doesn't always.  It is therefore safe to say that when a shelter takes in more dogs than cats, that shelter is limiting cat intake.  Out of sight, out of mind.

If shelters took in every cat presented to them, many would have much higher euthanasia numbers because if the huge homeless cat population.

Getting more cats (both owned and unowned) spayed and neutered is the only way to bring this overpopulation back under control.  It won't be immediate though because of decades of missteps on the treatment of cats.

Orange Tabby Cat
Cat Stretching on Sheets

When an Animal Shelter Begins Limiting Intake, What Does That Tell Us?

It tells us that that more animals are being brought to the shelter than what they can handle.  They may not have room.  They may not have funding.

In the past, shelters would euthanize them.  But with the push from the no-kill movement, this option is often a last resort now.  Shelters want to be considered no-kill, which means that they have at least a 90% placement rate for the animals in their care.  Euthanasia is used only as a last resort, when an animal is suffering from an irreparable medical or behavioral condition.  Some shelters sadly face too many homeless animals and too few options.

There is also no national organization that determines who is no-kill.  And with no uniform data reporting in place to determine who is no-kill, each shelter determines it based on how they do their numbers.

Through a no-kill focus, shelters have increased adoption rates.  But some still face more homeless animals than they can handle.  They have turned to two other options as well:  limiting intake and transfers/transports. 


Transfers/transports are discussed in a different section.