June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month, a good time to remind ourselves and others why adopting from a shelter is so important.
Recently, one family surrendered 30 cats to the animal shelter in my county. Apparently, the people had been trying to feed stray cats, but had not taken the crucial step of having the cats spayed and neutered. So the 30 cats included kittens.
Also in the shelter, among other cats, was a 16-year-old gray girl who had been surrendered by her owner.
The young, the old, the in between: you can find them all at your local shelter. And they all need homes. They all need love.
Our shelter is fortunate to now have two cages at the local PetSmart to showcase our cats, and that has helped increase cat adoptions. From talking with the volunteers who work most closely with the cats, they think part of the reason is because people don’t want to have to visit the “animal shelter” or say they adopted from the “animal shelter.” And frankly, the shelter is not a pleasant place to visit.
Our county has a long way to go to making our animal shelter more pleasant to potential adopters and, most importantly, larger, with more room for the animals. Dogs and cats are euthanized because of no room. That is tragic.
Why don't we have a better shelter? There aren't enough people willing to pay the money needed to do it. There isn't a desire from the governing body of the county, the board of supervisors, to do anything. I want to scream at my fellow county residents and board of supervisors: Why are you letting this happen?
I manage the website for the volunteer group, Friends of Campbell County Animal Control (FOAC) that works closely with animal control officers to get as many animals adopted as possible. I make donations of food and funds. But I’m not on the front line like many of the volunteers, having to make life and death decisions, trying with all their hearts to promote animals to would-be adopters.
No animal should die because someone decided they didn’t want him or her, because there’s no room for her, because she’s old, because he’s not perfect. Because he or she is in a shelter.
If you want to adopt a cat, please go to your local shelter. Even if your local shelter is No-Kill, continue to support them and adopt. The No-Kill shelter in a nearby city helps our county by taking some of our animals. When you free up spaces in a No-Kill shelter, you are still helping.
Of the seven cats Larry and I have had the privilege to have, four were adopted from our county’s shelter, one was given to Larry by a neighbor who was moving, one was adopted from a neighbor whose cat had kittens, and one was a stray that we adopted. Abbey, Natasha, and Connor all were adopted from the county shelter.
Our cats have been nothing less than a joy to us. We don’t care if they were “owned” before. We don’t care if they don’t have papers to show how “pure” they are. We accept the love they give us, and we give them love.
For information about what you can do to support Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month, see the ASPCA website and the PetFinder website.
I am probably preaching to the choir with this post. But please spread the word to family and friends who might not know: adopting a shelter cat is one of the best choices you will ever make.