Cat & Rat Facts

Shelter Cat Facts:


  • In 2014, LA County took in 72,000 animals.  50% of those animals ended up being killed by lethal injection.
  • 70% of the cats who entered LA County shelters in 2014 were killed.
  • In 2013, about 60% of cats brought into LA City shelters were killed.
  • All cats who are deemed unsocialized (unadoptable) are killed in LA County shelters.  This includes domestic cats who may simply be scared, and not wild. 


  • 2.6 million animals are killed per year in US shelters (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats)
  • 41% of cats who enter the shelters will be killed.

Feral Shelter Cat Facts:

  • While it is impossible to know with certainty how many feral cats live in the United States, experts estimate that there are likely between 60 to 100 million.
  • Almost 100% of the feral cats who enter pounds and shelters are euthanized.
  • Approximately 3.4 million cats enter shelters each year.
  • Of the 3.4 million cats that enter shelters each year, roughly 10% are feral. It is estimated that approximately 530,000 feral cats are euthanized each year in shelters alone.*
  • The Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project, which catches feral cats to spay or neuter them, found that only .2% of feral cats that are euthanized are done so for medical reasons.
  • In many major cities, including Chicago, feral kittens are the single largest population of killed or dying animals.
  • A large-scale study published by the American Veterinary Medical Association found that rates of common, infectious diseases were similar in pet cats and free-roaming cats. In some cases, pet cats had higher disease rates than free-roaming cats. Because Mother Nature selects the healthiest animals, it is perfectly logical that free-roaming cats are very healthy.
  • There is only one proven, successful way to reduce the population of feral cats and dramatically reduce births, and that is the method of humane non-lethal, trap, neuter and return, with managed long-term care by a caretaker.

Feral Cat Facts:

  • Feral cats can minimize rodent problems and are a “green” alternative to pest control. Feral cats keep their populations in check and discourage new rodents from moving into the area.
  • While some people feel that cats (feral or domestic) attract rodents because of uneaten cat food, the opposite is true. Rodents prefer to stay clear of cats and other predators.
  •  Scientists in the United States discovered that, when mice detect specific proteins found in cat saliva, they react with fear. These proteins, called Mups, act on cells in a special sensory organ in the mouse, called the vomeronasal organ. The team describe in the journal Cell how the proteins trigger a fearful reaction in the mice.
  • An established, vaccinated, and sterilized colony of feral cats will deter other stray and feral cats from moving into the area. This actually decreases the chances that people will encounter an unvaccinated cat, and will virtually eliminate problem behaviors like fighting, yowling, spraying and roaming.
  • The cost of feeding a feral cat an average quality food is about $5 per week.
  • To get rid of pests, an exterminator will typically have to make an initial visit, during which he or she will apply the baits or traps. To keep the pests away, the exterminator usually has to make monthly or semi-monthly trips back to the home. In total, mouse or rat extermination usually costs between $300-600 for several months-worth of visits. However, this cost will vary a great deal, depending on how many repairs are needed, what part of the country you live in, how large the infestation is, how many service trips are necessary, if you need cleanup, etc.
  • Pest extermination using baits and traps is not a guaranteed long-term solution, whereas a feral cat colony will keeps pests away for the entire lifespan of the colony.

Rat Poison Facts:

On Rats:

  • There are two different types of rat poisons: Anticoagulant and non-anticoagulant.
  • Anticoagulant poisons cause internal bleeding in the rat and can take 2-6 days to kill the rat.
  • Non-anticoagulant poisons often kill the rat in a few hours.
  • Neither poison kills the rats instantly, which allows them to travel back to their hiding places, which might just be your walls.
  • Handling and removing the dead rats puts you at risk for contracting any number of diseases the rat may carry.

Harmful to Children:

  • If ingested by a child, rat poison can cause serious damage to their health and can even result in death.
  • An unfamiliar object, such as a rat poison pellet can attract their attention.
  • To a child, rat poison pellets often look like a piece of candy
  • Rat poison has a sweet taste, giving children extra incentive to try it.
  • Incidents involving children eating rat poison have increased 40% over the past 10 years.

Harmful to Pets:

  • If ingested by a cat or dog, rat poison can cause serious health issues and can even result in death.
  • If the rat poison is left unattended, there is a strong chance a pet could eat it, thinking it's a treat.
  • Pets can reach things that you believe are out of reach.  There is the possibility your pet could find the rat poison that you believed to be well hidden.

Other Rat Extermination Facts:

  • The most commonly cited methods of rodent extermination are traps and baits.
  • Traps for rodents include snap traps, glue traps, and live traps. Snap traps may be dangerous for humans and house pets if not placed properly. Glue traps are similarly used to trap mice but also require proper placement to be effective. Live traps require homeowners to dispose of captured rodents. All traps require an intimate knowledge of mouse habits and behavior to use them effectively.
  • Baits may also be used but carry a heightened risk. Improper placement and use of baits can affect people, pets and wildlife. Orkin, a popular extermination company, advises that homeowners should not perform baiting at their home.
  • There are also electronic/sonic rodent repellants. These operate under the idea that high-frequency sounds can drive mice away from food sources and nesting grounds within human homes. However, there is little data that these devices repel insects or are effective in rodent control.


For More Information, visit these links:                     







The Pet Health Network

Huffington Post:

The Humane Society

World Animal Foundation

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Contact VFTA about Working Cats®: P: (310) 392-5153    E-Mail:  [email protected]    Fax: (310) 773-9027

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