I love June! The weather gets nicer (which means that people should get a little nicer), vacations are on the horizon, and it’s ADOPT A SHELTER CAT MONTH! Woo Hoo … let the party begin!
There are just far far far too many cats in U.S. shelters all year-round. But in the Spring/Summer/Fall months when kitten season is abound, it is not a party for cats. The euthanasia rates of shelter cats and kittens is enormous and cats are a majority of the 3-4 million euthanized annually. I won’t go off on a tangent about “who gives a human being the right to end the life of a shelter animal?” That’s a blog for a different day. We all know that number is just terrible and it’s not right … but what are you doing to help?
If everyone who loved cats did just one thing to help a shelter cat this month, we would rehome every single cat. No lie! I want to focus on getting cats adopted this month! So this blog is filled with some ideas for everyone, so read on!
1. If you are interested in having the pitter patter of feline paws in your home, please please please ADOPT from a shelter. Even though kittens are very cute (I’ve had one for the past 5 months methodically breaking many trinkets that he feels I don’t need anymore), there are shelters filled with middle aged and senior cats who are depressed and longing for a warm bed and a cuddle. Where I volunteer, we have two 15-year-old brothers (Alesiter & Orson at King Street Cats) right now. So think about your lifestyle and the set up of your home and choose wisely. If you like your trinkets to stay out and remain unbroken, an older cat may suit you best. Whereas if you have a playful dog or children, a younger cat may be better. Think of adopting as a matchmaking service … you are choosing for life!
2. If you are not in the market to adopt, find ways to support your local shelter(s). Many people only want to support the “no kill” shelters where all animals find a home. And that is fantastic because it allows those shelters to remain open. But do not forget other shelters that may be municipal shelters. When donors deny those shelters of money, supplies, volunteer time and even adoptions (because I just can’t go in to the shelter and walk away without adopting them all), simply because those shelters have the terrible task of euthanizing beautiful and wonderful animals, all it does it impact the animals in their care. You can truly save a life and change how a shelter helps animals simply by doing something. So clean out your linen closet and donate clean items for the cats to lay on, donate any money that you can, host a casual Friday day at work and ask everyone to pay $3-5 for the privilege and then donate that to your local shelter, drop off food or other supplies (call to find out what they need), offer to transport shelter cats to adoption events or the veterinary clinic, offer to help with adoptions or fundraisers or even to sit with the shelter cats and give them love, open your home to provide foster care … the ideas are endless. Cats are more stressed in a shelter environment than other pets so they more likely to appear angry or frightened, all of which impacts their adoptability. Anything that you can do to help a shelter cat feel better will really help.
3. If you want a more “hands-off” approach, considering blogging or posting on social media every day this month about ways for people in your community to help shelter cats find homes. Even sharing postings by shelters of the cats that are available for adoption will help them find homes.
And if you want more ideas, check out my book Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. It is chock full of ideas for everyone to get involved and make a difference. And that’s what Adopt A Shelter Cat Month is all about … for us to make a difference in the life of a cat.
So from me and my 3 shelter adoptees Lucy, Jacob & Rudy, we hope that you will do even just one thing this month to help a shelter cat find a home. Please post a comment to let me know what you’re doing because it will encourage others to get involved, too!
Happy Cat Month!
Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and nationally trains criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets.
Lucy Ling was adopted on March 5, 1999 at the age of 7 months from a mid-Michigan shelter that practiced pound seizure and had a high euthanasia rate. She will be 15 years old in August. She is a beautiful Bombay who loves to talk and give nose smears! She cackles at the birds through her sunny window and is always by her mom’s side (except when her cootie-ridden brothers Jacob and Rudy are around).
Jacob was cast outdoors when his family in West Virginia lost their home. He was found by some caring people and taken in to the Potomac Highland Animal Rescue group. He was transferred to King Street Cats in Alexandria, VA to find a home. He was quickly adopted, but then returned because the family was moving. He was adopted again, and then returned because the family was having a baby. After suffering from depression and getting sick, Allie fostered him back to health but then could not let him go. After fostering over 150 cats and kittens, Jacob was the first one to stay. He loves to romp and sleep with Rudy and when he runs he hops like a bunny rabbit. He will be 8-years-old this month.
Rudy was found at the age of 4 weeks under a bush on the island of St. Croix. The St. Croix Animal Welfare Center cared for him for 5 months until he could fly to Virginia to find a new home. Allie fostered Rudy and “tried” to adopt him through King Street Cats. But he was meant to be in her home. She adopted him on January 23, 2013 and will turn one-year old on July 13, 2013! He loves to jump out and surprise his sister (to her annoyance) and to romp with his brother. He follows Allie around the house like a dog, sounds like he’s saying “hey” when he meows, and is ignoring all attempts to learn the word “no.”
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