Unclaimed: Nine Perceptions That Kill Cats

Kat Albrecht, Missing Pet Partnership 

ABSTRACT
Did you know that cats do not go off to die, that not all coyotes kill cats, and that what people believe about their missing cat may actually kill it? Every year, millions of cats are lost and yet only 2% are reclaimed in our shelters. Typically this is blamed on uncaring or naïve owners who fail to microchip their cats or fail to come to the shelter in a timely manner. This workshop closely examines 9 human behaviors (by both guardians and rescuers) and feline behaviors that contribute to the homeless, stray, feral, foster, and shelter cat populations. In addition, several lost cat recovery cases (solved by Missing Pet Partnership volunteers) will be debriefed where innovative recovery techniques were used (wildlife cameras, house as trap instead of humane trap, baby monitor, etc.). Come learn about the science of finding lost cats and how the failure to reunite lost cats with their families is not primarily due to a lack of compassion, but rather a lack of education.

Key Learnings
1. Lost cats that are not found by their families are a major contributing factor to the high euthanasia rates of shelter cats
2. Shelters in the U.S. have dramatically increased their Return to Owner rates and lowered their “stray” cat intake rates through innovative lost pet recovery programs
3. A sick, injured, or panicked cat will hide in silence within its territory. Cat owners counseled about these behaviors stand an increased chance of finding their lost cats

PRESENTER BIO

Kat Albrecht
A former police officer, Kat Albrecht is the founder of Missing Pet Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to lost pet recovery. Since 1997, Kat has worked to develop lost pet services and has trained shelter staff in the human and animal behaviors that contribute to the homeless pet crisis. Kat is the author of Pet Tracker: The Amazing Story of Rachel the K-9 Pet Detective and Dog Detectives: Train Your Dog to Find Lost Pets