Adopt-a-Cat Month is fast approaching with a kick off on June 1. The American Humane organization chose June because this month also marks the height of the kitten season. This is when felines go into heat and give birth to millions of fur babies that often end up in animal shelters.
Shelters and organizations across the country are preparing for the massive influx of newborn and homeless cats. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) approximates that 3.4 million cats go into adoption each year. About 1.4 million don’t get to find new homes, so they end up getting put down. Organizations, like the ASPA and adoption centers, are trying to raise awareness and convince more people to adopt from shelters to increase the survival rates of rescued kittens.
Clinics, Communities, and the Kitten Coalition
The National Kitten Coalition is a nonprofit organization that aims to give sick, homeless, neonatal, and other at-risk kittens a chance to thrive and live unburdened through life-saving educational programs. The coalition believes that shelters, veterinarians, communities, and rescuers must act collectively to achieve this goal.
Veterinary clinics have a big part to play in raising awareness for pet adoption. There are a variety of custom-made veterinary promotional products clinics can use to entice fur parents to grow their family and adopt more felines in need. Vets also need to intensify their campaign on the importance of spaying and neutering pets. This prevents unwanted kittens that only end up in animal shelters, especially since a female cat can produce up to three litters a year (1 litter = 4 to 6 kittens).
Communities can partner with animal welfare organizations or local adoption centers and hold big adoption events. The ASPCA provides the following tips to ensure a high adoption rate in large-scale events:
- Free or reduced adoption fees – This draws more people than any other promotional tactic, which debunks the belief that lowering adoption fees devalues the animal and attracts fewer adopters. Research shows that a potential adopter’s attachment to a cat does not decrease when shelters eliminate fees.
- Pet adoption concierge service – When a shelter is crowded, there may not be enough volunteers to assist potential adopters so they may not find a cat they want to adopt. OK Humane organizers recommend the pet adoption concierge system instead of allowing multiple groups of people at the venue at the same time. This way, visitors can comfortably look over each fur baby and inquire with the volunteers, allowing better matches between pet and owner.
- Fun and creative themes – KC Pet Project holds an annual Star Wars-themed adoption event where visitors can adopt their own wookiees (dogs) or ewoks (cats). The festival-themed event attracts a lot of families and also provides photo booths and fun giveaways for the kids, including temporary tattoos and color-changing cups.
Feline Friends and Fur Parents
Every year, pet ownership continues to grow in the US, but 4 percent of cat owners still acquire from breeders and one percent purchase from pet stores. Organizations are encouraging those who want to own pets to adopt instead, to help ease the explosive population growth in animal shelters.
People who can’t adopt because of medical reasons or housing constraints can still support shelters by helping them raise funds. During kitty season, rescue centers may experience a shortage in resources like food, money, supplies, and space. Financial or in-kind donations are enough to help organizations and local shelters curb kitten season.
Everyone has a part to play in making the world a better place for animals. Get involved and help cats find loving homes during this critical time of the year.