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 just around the corner. 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. 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 search for 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 that 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 www.asapcats.org
Adopt a cat. Adopting a cat will 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!
Local Shelters Offering Cat Adoptions
Animal Shelter Assistance Program
Included in the adoption fee at ASAP is:
Spay or neuter surgery
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 2 weeks beyond adoption, if necessary
Cat Carrier (you can save the County money by bringing your own)
ASAP is located at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Road, Santa Barbara. 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
Santa Barbara Humane Society
Included in the adoption fee at SBHS:
Complete health screening
Starter packet of food
Booklet on cat care
Cardboard cat carrier
To adopt a cat, visit the Santa Barbara Humane Society at 5399 Overpass Rd. For more information, call 964-4777. Shelter hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
C.A.R.E.4Paws Vaccine Clinic
On Saturday, June 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., C.A.R.E.4Paws hosts its second vaccine clinic of the year at the Half Century Club in Lompoc. They offer free rabies and DHPP for dogs, and free rabies and FVRCP for cats, plus low-cost flea and deworming treatment. At their February 1, 2014, clinic, 281 dogs and cats received free vaccinations, and as many as 115 of these pets got signed up for spay-neuter appointments. These vaccine clinics are part of C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Critical Communities Spay-Neuter Outreach program in Lompoc, Santa Barbara County’s most overlooked pet-owning community. For more information, visit www.care4paws.org
Lisa Acho Remorenko is executive director of Animal Adoption Solutions, www.animaladoptionsolutions.com