Is It Wrong For A Pet Store To Leave Cats Unattended During Christmas?

Most of us have the next couple of days off from work, which is fine since most of us have jobs where the well-being of a domesticated animal is not at stake. But one PetSmart volunteer says Corporate HQ has decreed that employees can’t come in on Christmas to check on the cats in the stores, which he believes is putting these animals at risk.

The reader says his PetSmart has an arrangement with the local animal shelter that allows the shelter to place its rescued kittehs at the store so as to improve their chances of being adopted.

“Volunteers come twice a day to feed, clean their litter, and play with them,” he explains. “During holidays, when PetSmart is closed, a store employee would come in to feed the fish and a volunteer would also come in for the cats.”

However, he says that PetSmart HQ has decided that no one is to come in between the store closing on Tuesday night and its re-opening on Thursday morning.

Some cat owners have no problem leaving their feline friends alone at home for a day or two, provided there is ample food, water and clean litter. Of course, one could argue that there is a big difference between leaving a cat alone in a house or an apartment, where it’s free to roam about and entertain itself, as opposed to being stuck in a small pet store cage.

We’ve reached out to PetSmart to see what the company’s policy is regarding care of in-store pets on Christmas and the company sent the following statement in reply:

Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of the pets in our care. As with previous years, PetSmart associates make sure that each pet has enough food and water to last 24 hours at closing of the night before a holiday in which the store is closed. If a pet requires attention that cannot wait 24 hours, an associate will come into the store to care for the pet.

We still want to get readers’ opinions on the matter:

Read Comments3

Edit Your Comment

  1. theoriginalcatastrophegirl says:

    i just clarified with the leaders of the rescue i volunteer with and we got the same policy info. and our cats will be moving out of petsmart tomorrow and moving back in on thursday, after the holiday.
    and as the president of our rescue pointed out to me, the time that volunteers/employees will be blocked from the store is 36 hours, not 24.
    especially since a majority of the cats or dogs that might be in the adoption center actually kittens or puppies, 36 (or even 24) hours is waaaaaay too long. there’s a massive difference between leaving a fairly mature 2 year old cat alone for up to a day and leaving a 4-6 month old kitten who doesn’t know not to jump up and down in the water dish alone for a day.
    a kitten or puppy can spoil their food/water really fast and it needs to be checked on regularly

    • Cheapocabra says:

      Seconded. Apart from food/water/litter, it’s bad for cats to be alone too long in confinement. Cage stress is a real phenomenon, and it can make a great pet so unhappy that it won’t respond to potential adopters. At my shelter, we have a sign-up for every Petsmart cat’s care for all days, including holidays. I can’t imagine how our people will react if they go to the door and can’t get in. I am picturing a lot of furious, frightened phone calls on Christmas.

      • theoriginalcatastrophegirl says:

        yep, our cats only live in the center up to 2 weeks and then rotate out to foster homes. but even while they are in the adoption center, they get daily playtime when the volunteers come. they need attention and exercise or they start overgrooming themselves or fighting with each other, or just get so stressed out that they get upset digestion. there’s nothing like a cat freaking out at confinement so much that they have explosive diarrhea all over their little space.
        if you aren’t already using it, your group may want to try iVolunteer. it’s made volunteer sign up and coordination so easy