Purebred Rescues in Shelters – Myth vs. Reality

There are so many purebred rescues in shelters” and “Adopt, Don’t Shop!”

Today’s animal welfare and animal rights organizations are eagerly explaining to anyone that buying a purebred cat is politically incorrect and even equates to animal abuse. Their social media posts and pictures relate this mission like a battle cry.

Unfortunately, these efforts have led to many misguided policies/laws aimed at painting all breeders with the same stroke. The emotions these comments evoke in me are best likened to what most people experience when someone drags their fingernails across a chalkboard. I HATE IT!

The Claim

Around 900,000 to 1 Million shelter cats and dogs across the United States are euthanized each year. They claim that many of these are purebred rescues in shelters.

Some organizations report far higher numbers; however, they fail to substantiate these numbers with facts. They do not reflect reality but are rather used to elicit shock, disbelief, and …….. lots of donations from you, the outraged public.

Rescue Reality

Large “animal rescue” organizations, such as ASPCA, PETA, and HSUS, raise nearly $300 Million in donations each year to “help save animals.”

In the ASPCA case, well over 35% of the $42 Million in donations go to salaries, bonuses, and pension plans. That’s about $15 Million. They manage to kill thousands in their shelters each year but see nothing wrong with asking your money to do the dirty deed while paying their CEO over $850,000 per year.

Nearly 99% of the over $100 Million yearly donations PETA obtains go to salaries, bonuses, lavish pension plans, and of course, criminal defense costs. In other words, $99 Million of your donations help them, never an animal. Additionally, their “shelter” euthanasia rate exceeds 97% in most years.

HSUS does not even have a shelter and gives around 0.5% of the $142 Million in donations to animal rescue organizations. Consequently, just over $700,000 will actually help animals.

Other than sheer and unobliterated greed, these organizations have one more thing in common – they are all blaming me!

Who is Responsible for Purebred Rescues in Shelters?

Yes, you got that right! I am responsible for the many purebred rescues in shelters. And, of course, all those cats being euthanized each year.

In theory, for every kitten I sell, a cat is put down in a shelter because it cannot find a home. Additionally, they claim that shelters are “overflowing with purebred animals from irresponsible kitten/puppy mills.”

Unfortunately, some local, smaller shelters are happily tooting into the same horn of misinformation to increase their donations. However, all of this information is lacking something substantial – FACTS.

Purebred Rescues in Shelters

Many “shelters” and “rescues” fail to mention that 95% of all shelter animals are not purebred. They advertise them as a specific breed, but they are domestic animals of unknown ancestry that find themselves in a shelter because of irresponsible owners failing to make a lifetime commitment, not because of any breeder.

NAIA (National Animal Interest Alliance) researched this claim back in 2015. What they found was nothing short of amazing; however, not at all surprising to me. Previous “research” found that at least one-third of dogs in shelters are purebred. The reality hovers around five percent. That’s right – only 5%. The numbers for cats are even lower.

Purebred Cats in Shelters

Here is just one of the many examples of “purebred rescues in shelters” we found on Petfinder:

The first cat was advertised as a “Pixie Bob”. The second cat is actually a Pixie Bob. Can you see the difference?

Why do you see these cats advertised as something they are not? It’s simple. They find a home quicker that way. Now, I do not have an issue with this practice if it helps a cat find a new home quickly.

I have issues with people telling me that I am responsible for cats dying in shelters or that they rather adopt a “purebred Pixie Bob” from a shelter than buying one from a “kitten mill.” They have been led to believe that many purebred animals are sitting in shelters awaiting a new home. Consequently, any breeder is nothing other than a glorified animal abuser who produces animals to sell at a maximum profit, which equals minimum care.

Purebred Rescues Today

These organizations also fail to mention that each year roughly about 1 Million animals are imported from other countries. Say WHAT?? Yes, you read this correctly. 1 MILLION animals (mostly dogs) are imported to major metropolitan areas because shelters have more demand for YOUNG animals or kittens/puppies than they have supplied.

Metropolitan shelters have done a fantastic job raising awareness of early spay/neuter benefits while providing low-cost options to the public. Therefore, the influx of unwanted domestic kittens/puppies has dramatically decreased over the last couple of decades. Consequently, kittens/puppies or very young cats/dogs are harder and harder to come by. This is great news.

Purebred Rescues in Shelters – The Money Maker

Yes, it is – but not so fast. Let’s take a closer look at what this trend means to a shelter or rescue organization.

Right off the bat, the public wants to adopt babies or very young animals. Most are not interested in giving a 10-year old senior cat a few more nice years. They want a kitten – anything under a year of age.

Baby or young animals also fetch considerably higher adoption fees than older animals. In the Seattle area, the fee to adopt a kitten is around $200. A 5-year old cat fetches a mere $50. A senior goes for even lesser.

Young animals get adopted faster. Therefore, their shelter stay is short, and the cost to take care of them while in the shelter is lower. Their adoption fee is 4+ times that of an older cat. That means PROFIT!

You are out of luck if you are “old”

Older cats/dogs remain in shelters longer while incurring higher costs for upkeep. Their adoption fees usually do not offset these costs thus representing an operating loss rather than profit or, at a minimum, breaking even.

It should also be mentioned that fees for “purebred rescues in shelters” are much higher, hence the desire to declare as many cats as possible to be “purebred.” This again, is done for increasing profit. “Purebred” adult cats have $250+ adoption fees associated with them.

“Rescue” As an Industry

Purebred Rescues in the United States shelters has turned into a multi-billion-dollar industry. Yes, billions!! In light of all this information, making my cattery responsible for this seems to be quite fantastic.

When a potential pet buyer talks about feeling guilt for buying a purebred kitten, I always tell them the same:

“Two cats are better than one anyway. Get your purebred kitten and then get it a friend from the shelter. This accomplishes three things – you get what you want, you save a life, and you have two cats that are never lonely.”

I take rescue very seriously. Many don’t know that I have been rescuing for well over 25 years – far longer than I have been breeding. As a matter of fact, I breed and rescue (yes, you can do both). My furry entourage comprises purebred cats as well as Heinz 57 magnificent shelter moggies. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.