Animal Shelter Assistance Program, aka ASAP, will be hosting its third annual free adoption event. The special adoption weekend, to be held on Saturday, August 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday, August 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., waives the regular $75 adoption fee and offers adult cats to qualified adopters completely free–except for a lifetime commitment to provide love and care to a healthy, adoptable shelter cat.

Adult cats tend to get passed over during the summer months when animal shelters are overflowing with kittens. Many people never even look at the cages of adult cats when kittens are at the shelter. According to executive director Angela Walters Rockwell, “There are over 70 adult cats desperately in need of loving, adoptive homes. Some of the adult cats have been waiting for over a year–spending too many lonely nights in a cage.” Although many people think about kittens this time of year, there are many benefits of adopting an adult cat. If you adopt an adult cat, you know exactly what you’re getting. Body type, coat, and eye color are set. Most importantly, you’ll know your cat’s personality. You’ll know whether your cat is going to be laid-back or active, quiet or vocal, cuddly or demanding, since adult cats have already settled into their own personalities.

Of course, if you have your heart set on a kitten, ASAP’s shelter is overflowing with kittens, too. According to Rockwell, “This year so far, over 300 kittens have passed through ASAP, with more arriving almost daily. More than 40 kittens will be available for adoption the weekend of August 17-18, and there are still more than 60 kittens in our foster program. Kittens can be adopted at the special rate of two for $75.” This is a wonderful promotion, as I would highly recommend adopting two kittens together. When you adopt two kittens, they are able to learn from each other. Kittens are able to gain knowledge of social skills, play skills and other important behavioral traits when they play together. And best of all, when you are away from the house, two kittens have each other to play with and keep each other company.

ASAP was the first organization working with a municipal shelter in the United States to stop the killing of adoptable cats for population control. They became the first animal rescue organization in the region to offer free adoptions when it held the first Certified Pre-Owned Cat Sale in 2011. This first event was a huge success, with 76 cats adopted out to suitable homes, and the second event in 2012 was expanded county-wide and resulted in 87 cats sleeping in new homes instead of a cage at the shelter by the weekend’s close. The excitement these events generated brought 10 times the usual number of people to the Santa Barbara shelter, and drew attention to the problem of cat overpopulation and the need for responsible cat lovers to bring a shelter cat or kitten into their lives. Some adopters came to “shop” in advance and were so taken with a cat that they chose to adopt in advance and pay the full fee, rather than miss out on their dream companion. And several of ASAP’s long-term resident cats–who had been at the shelter a year or longer–at last found homes and life outside a cage.

All potential adopters must meet ASAP’s standard adoption criteria, including homeownership verification or landlord approval. A driver’s license or other valid identification is required for all adoptions. Potential adopters are encouraged to visit ASAP prior to the event to check out the wide array of cats and kittens. Adopters can also expedite the adoption process by completing the homeowner verification and/or landlord approval process in advance.

ASAP’s Free Adoption Event is Saturday, August 17, from 10am-4pm, and Sunday, August 18 from 10am-2pm. ASAP is located at 5473 Overpass Rd. For more information, call (805) 683-3368 or visit


Wags ‘n’ Whiskers

On Sunday, August 18, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. C.A.R.E.4Paws hosts its fifth annual Wags n’ Whiskers Festival at Girsh Park in Goleta. The free, fun-filled event-Santa Barbara County’s largest adoption festival-features dogs, cats and bunnies from about 25 animal shelters and rescues countywide. The event also showcases a wide range of local animal service providers, such as pet stores and veterinary clinics, including CARE Hospital, this year’s top Wags n’ Whiskers sponsor.

Festival-goers enjoy a great mix of activities, such as two Frisbee shows with Southern California’s famous Disc Dogs (for the first time at Wags n’ Whiskers), fast-paced Flyball with Santa Barbara Supersonic and an exciting police dog performance. Also new this year, a henna tattoo parlor, a Kissing Booth hosted by the cute four-legged crew from Peace, Love & Pit Bulls-coming all the way from Las Vegas-and participation from the Cesar Millan Foundation. C.A.R.E.4Paws’ fun Pawsitive Thinking Kids Corner invites children to discover how to care for all living beings, while hair experts from Paul Mitchell, The School offers Cuts for Mutts. Additionally, Project PetSafe provides low-cost vaccines, microchipping and licensing for dogs from 9 a.m. to 1pm.

The organizer, C.A.R.E.4Paws (short for Community Awareness, Responsibility, Education), is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that works to reduce pet overpopulation and keep animals out of shelters. The organization’s services include early education, bilingual community outreach, free spays/neuters, dog training intervention, pit bull education and countywide adoption events-like Wags n’ Whiskers. What makes Wags n’ Whiskers unique is that it sheds light on the impressive work of the county’s animal shelters and rescues and lets the public meet a large number of adoptable pets outside the shelter environment.

Last year’s events drew more than a thousand visitors and inspired forever homes for as many as 35 cats and dogs. This year, C.A.R.E.4Paws aims to significantly increase the number of adoptions, visitors and vendors and make it an even more successful gathering for our community’s animal lovers.

Adoptable Pet of the Week


Sasha, a 10-year-old Himalayan seal point with a coat like chinchilla and smoke and a black face and white whiskers, is awaiting adoption through the Animal Shelter Assistance Program. A bit shy and skittish at first, when you win her trust she responds with an unending stream of purrs and a flash of her baby blues. Her fondest wish is to be spoiled and coddled and told how beautiful she is while you stroke her gently. Sasha is looking for an adult home and would be perfect for someone with a quiet lifestyle looking for a loving and loyal companion.

The following is included in the adoption fee at ASAP: spay or neuter surgery, flea treatment, vaccinations, microchipping, health evaluation, including testing for Feline leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). 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, Temperament evaluation and Cat Carrier (you can save the County money by bringing your own).

To meet Sasha and other available cats needing loving homes, visit ASAP at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Rd. Hours are weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call the ASAP office at 683-3368 or visit their website at

Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization that takes care of the cats and kittens at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter. ASAP provides humane care for these animals and works to eliminate the practice of euthanizing them for reasons other than serious health or behavior problems.


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