Feline Fridays: Squeeze Into National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month!
It's okay to be a procrastinator sometimes, because good things come to those who wait! And your perfect addition to your family could be waiting just for you. Right now, many shelters are running specials, sometimes waiving adoption fees for cats entirely! This is truly amazing because the cost of adopting out a cat that includes sterilization, microchipping, and medical care is around $300, so the fact that you can get a lifetime companion for free or low cost is an exceptional value!
If this isn't enough to convince you to go find your dream adoptable cat, let me make you aware of the magnitude of the need for good homes. For example, just one of the shelters in Denver has over 750 cats available for adoption due to the springtime influx of kittens and economic difficulties. And now that Colorado is experiencing massive fire evacuations, shelters are being flooded with lost and temporarily surrendered pets. With the busiest day for shelters approaching (the day after the 4th of July, due to fireworks-induced fear and fleeing) it is a perfect storm for shelters to be bursting at the seams.
Unfortunately, many of these pets are killed in shelters because there simply isn't room for them all. According to the ASPCA:
Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state.
According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2 percent of cats and only 15 to 20 percent of dogs are returned to their owners. Most of these were identified with tags, tattoos or microchips.
We have made progress in the last few years in reducing the numbers of pets killed in shelters, especially with dogs. But we really haven't figured out how to help cats as efficiently. The takeaways from these statistics not only show the importance of cat adoptions and spay/neuter programs, but also of microchipping them. A 2% percent chance of being returned to a guardian is pretty slim. Only having a 30% chance of making it out of a shelter alive if you're a cat is not a gamble anyone should try.
I know, I know... it's a major downer. But please don't lose hope. If you can't adopt a cat, consider being a cat foster parent to free up more room in the shelters so they aren't forced to make as many of those heartbreaking decisions.
As a bit of encouragement, Ms. Bella Boo beat the system, not once, but twice! Now she is a fashion model, movie star, and company mascot! But none of that compares to the joy she's brought to our family. I leave you with one of her product promotional videos to show you how fun your new cat might be!
Fleas are one of the most constant and difficult problems that pet owners everywhere must reckon with. Whether you live in a cold climate where there is a true winter every year or a mild or warm climate where fleas never truly die off, you may have