JUST eight of the 183 cats impounded in Albury over nine months have been returned to their owners.
And Albury pound assistant manager Alicia Taylor says she is sick and tired of having to put down cats because their owners can’t be bothered to claim them.
Ms Taylor says it angers her that complacent owners don’t think to call the pound to see whether their pet is there.
Ms Taylor estimates about 80 per cent of cats not claimed by their owners have been put down, with the remaining animals sold to new owners or, on rare occasions, picked up by rescue organisations.
That compares with more than half — 58 per cent — of dogs returned to their homes.
“These are friendly, domesticated cats,” Ms Taylor said.
“I think there’s still a lack of education that there is a cat pound.
“We still have a stigma of the pound being just for dogs.
“I think that the education needs to be put out there that if you’re missing your cat there is such a thing as cat pound.
“So phone us, or better still come out and have a look.”
The long-term pound employee said one of the main reasons the cats weren’t being claimed was their microchip information wasn’t up to date, making it impossible to contact their owners.
The main reason for cats being picked up is for wandering onto other people’s properties.
Once picked up, the pound is bound to keep a cat for a week if it isn’t microchipped, or two weeks if it is.
“What we have here at the moment is the cream of the crop that me and my staff are really battling to not want to put down,” Ms Taylor said.
“It’s just so frustrating ... I feel anger towards the owners, I just want to shake them and say ‘this is what it takes to be a responsible owner’.”
Her fellow staff agree that it is an emotionally draining and upsetting job to put down an animal.
Ms Taylor has two messages for owners.
“Keep your microchipping information up to date and desex your cat,” she said.
And her third rule is: “If you are a responsible owner, come and look in the pound for your lost pet.”