Folks tend to love free things. Therefore, it was surprising when, after the Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) held a Free Cat Adoption Day last year, some community members balked at the no-cost cat event. Their claim? If an animal is acquired for free, its owner will value it less than they would if they had paid for said feline, which leads to lack of owner responsibility for the pet’s well-being.
Angela Walters, ASAP executive director, said the protestations were “an emotional response,” adding that some people believe “that if you give cats away for free, people won’t care for them, but there is no correlation between money and adoption.” In fact, the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science published a study in 2009 that found no difference in levels of owner attachment, but that free adoption can “dramatically impact the lives of thousands of shelter cats that would otherwise reside in a shelter for months or be euthanized.” Walters also cited studies by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Maddie’s Fund that confirm their belief.
As it is, 85 percent of all owners received their cats for free, whether they were given to them from acquaintances or they found them as strays. “By and large,” Walters said, “most of the [concerned] people felt a lot more comfortable when they understood the research behind it.”
ASAP has a lengthy adoption application process — whether there is a fee or not for the kitties — that includes homeownership verification and proof of valid identification to ensure that cats get placed into good homes. Last year’s event resulted in the successful adoption of 76 cats; ASAP followed up with 89 percent of the people who adopted cats at the event.
Due to the success of last year’s event, ASAP is holding another free adoption event this weekend. There promises to be loads of adoptable kittens and cats eager to find a good home.
ASAP’s Second Annual Free Adoption Event is Saturday-Sunday, August 18-19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 5473 Overpass Road. For more information, call 683-3368 or visit asapcats.org