By Bob Gordon, FOTAS Communications Director and Volunteer
Linda Knox McLean didn’t choose Tommy when she went to the Aiken County Animal Shelter to adopt a cat – it was the other way around. Tommy, a stocky, three-year-old, brown tabby chose her.
“I walked into the cat adoption room to check out the cats, and right away, Tommy hopped up on my lap, climbed all over me, put his two paws on my shoulders and gave me a love bite on the neck,” Linda says. “That sealed the deal. I took him home.”
Linda has three foxhounds and an 18-year-old tabby at home, but that was no problem for Tommy. He adjusted quickly and easily to his new surroundings.
That’s the thing about cats: in addition to being affectionate, they are adaptable, self-reliant, and easy to care for – the perfect companion for folks who don’t have the time or energy to attend to the constant needs of a dog. That’s why cats are the most popular pets in the world, outnumbering dogs three to one.
Alice Hester of Warrenville adopted two cats from the shelter during last month’s special: Russell and Patches, a pretty, muted calico. “I changed Russell’s name to Thor immediately,” says Alice, “because when he jumps down, he sounds like Thor’s hammer.” The big, five-year-old, orange tabby has made himself at home in her sewing room and shares the house with two dogs and two other cats, including Patches.
Jill Fertig of Williston saw the Channel 12 News story about the alarming summer overcrowding at shelter and the ad in the Aiken Standard about the July special. When she and her husband, Bill, arrived at the shelter, Marbles, a six-year-old, tortoiseshell cat, climbed up on Jill, wrapped herself around the back of her neck and started purring. “She definitely claimed me,” says Jill. “Marbles is affectionate, smart and totally fearless. When our two Chihuahuas line up for treats, Marbles lines up with them.”
Tommy, Thor, Patches and Marbles are just a few of the many successful adoptions that resulted from last month’s free shelter cat promotion, where 81 cats found forever homes. That’s a shelter record.
Thank you to everyone who adopted orphaned cats in need last month. Because of your tremendous response, we currently have more dogs than cats at the shelter, which is a highly unusual situation – especially in the summer months. It has been estimated that theoretically, one unspayed female and one unneutered male, in the course of just seven years, can produce nearly 800,000 kittens, with the assumption that their offspring also are not spayed or neutered.
Those are daunting numbers. It also explains why, across the nation, the euthanasia rate for cats in public shelters with open admissions is significantly higher than the euthanasia rate for dogs.
There is only one humane answer: Fix your pets! There are a number of local programs available to help with the costs of spay/neutering. Please check them out at fotasaiken.org or call the shelter for more information at (803) 642-1537.
Their lives are in our hands.