Animal Shelters across the nation celebrate Adopt a Shelter Cat Month during the month of June. “Kitten Season,” a term coined by animal rescue groups, is happening right now. Thousands of kittens are born each year during the spring and summer months and many of them wind up in already overcrowded animal shelters. The American Humane Association estimates that 4 million cats and kittens are turned into shelters every year. Kitten season takes a toll on animal shelters as space and resources become limited. The hardest hit are the homeless adult cats who are forced to compete with the abundance of kittens also looking for permanent homes. Here’s what you can do to help celebrate Adopt a Shelter Cat Month:
Spay or neuter your cat. The single most important thing you can do if you already own a cat is to spay or neuter and encourage others to do the same. If you are having trouble affording the cost of the surgery, call your area humane society to see if there are discounts available. Aside from spaying or neutering your pet to help with the overpopulation crisis, spaying and neutering has both medical and behavioral benefits for your cat. Neutering male cats makes them less likely to fight with other males or mark their territory and it virtually eliminates the risk of testicular tumors or prostate problems. Spaying female cats greatly reduces their chances of developing mammary, ovarian, or uterine cancers. Spayed and neutered pets are also less likely to try to get out of the yard to find mates. Each year, thousands of roaming animals in search of mates become lost or are hit by cars, resulting in needless suffering or death.
Volunteer to become a foster parent. Many kittens who wind up at shelters are in need of fostering. Fostering entails taking care of homeless kittens who arrive at shelters too young to be adopted–typically those under 8 weeks of age. Foster parents are also needed for kittens who are recently born and need to be bottle-fed. To read more about becoming a foster parent for kittens at Animal Shelter Assistance Program in Santa Barbara, visit http://www.asapcats.org/volunteer/fostering.html
Adopt a cat. Adopting a cat can enrich your life. Not only will their playful antics keep you entertained for hours, but owning a cat can reduce your blood pressure and help prevent heart disease. Another good feature about cats is that they are independent and can be left alone while you are at work–especially if you have multiple cats. Cats are very low maintenance; they litter box train themselves and they stay clean since they bathe themselves (it also helps them stay clean if you keep them inside). Cats are also not picky about where they live; they are just as content in a one-bedroom apartment as they are in a four-bedroom house.
Show your virtual support. If you can’t adopt a cat, you can support adoptions by dedicating your Facebook status or blog to an adoptable cat. You can also help spread the word about Adopt-a-Shelter Cat month by posting the link to this column as your Facebook status.
Area Shelters Offering Cat Adoptions
Animal Shelter Assistance Program
In celebration of National Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month, ASAP will be promoting five of our special, more challenging to adopt cats: Miles, Phillip, Lula Mae, Diego, and Tedi. Each of these cats is available for a $25 adoption fee–the reduced fee is set until the cats are adopted.
Included in the adoption fee at ASAP is:
Spay or neuter surgery, flea treatment, vaccinations, microchipping, health evaluation, including testing for Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), and temperament evaluation. Cats thought to be 10 years or older receive a full blood panel evaluation, thus assuring that the cat is indeed healthy and adoptable. Medical and drug coverage through ASAP’s vet for two weeks beyond adoption, if necessary. A cat carrier (you can save the County money by bringing your own)
ASAP is located at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Rd. Adoption hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, visit www.asapcats.org
While it’s mostly true that Miles doesn’t play well with others, it’s really just four-legged others. Miles actually adores the two-legged human version of “others”! This kitty is a long, lean playing machine and is sure to keep his human companions in good cardio shape. Of course, if the humans in question get lazy, Miles also loves toys of all kinds, including the ones on a stick–so you can relax in your recliner and still keep this kitty runnin’!
But it is very important that Miles be kept away from ALL other felines–he can be dangerously aggressive toward them. And dogs are not a good idea either. But don’t let that scare the humans–he’s incredibly gentle and loving. He would be fine in a home with children, as long as they can be trained to keep all of the doors closed because Miles cannot be allowed outside–he’s hazardous for neighboring kitties!!
While a healthy, athletic cat, Miles does have a food allergy that can cause hair loss and irritated skin. For this reason, he needs to be on a special diet, which is readily available at most pet supply stores.
Adoptable Dog of the Week
Oreo is truly as sweet as her namesake. She is three years young and eager to learn new things. She is attentive and has a face that will melt anyone’s heart. Oreo would do best with an active owner(s) that would give her lots of exercise and attention. Oreo is an American Staffordshire Terrier. If you are interested in Oreo come in and visit her at the Santa Barbara Humane Society.
Visit us at 5399 Overpass Rd., Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For more information: 805-964-4777, www.sbhumanesociety.org