Although cats are extremely common, pet owners seem to have a poor understanding of their natural behaviour and needs and a large number end up in cat shelters. In Sweden, no records exist of the number of cat shelters or their activities. The aim of this study was to investigate the
occurrence of cat shelters in Sweden. We found 62 cat shelters during 2006; the year in which this study was conducted. Questionnaires were sent to these shelters with questions concerning: received animals, reasons for relinquishing cats, cat husbandry and how the shelter was run. The most
common reason for relinquishing a cat was that the cat was homeless; another common reason was that the owner had an allergy to cats. The shelters had, on average, space for 29 cats, but this varied from six-to-100, and they received on average ten cats per month. This means that a total of
around 7,400 cats enter the 62 shelters in Sweden each year. On average, the cats stayed more than three months in the shelter. Less than 10% of the relinquished cats were euthanised. Our study reveals that there are shelters that continuously receive unwanted cats. The majority of these cats
are said to be homeless, therefore in order to minimise the number of cats in shelters in Sweden, the focus should be on reducing the number of homeless cats.