By Bob Gordon, FOTAS Director of Communications
Cats are fascinating creatures. They entertain us with their acrobatics, keep our homes free of mice with their hunting skills, and head butt us and purr to share their love and happiness. Not to mention they clean and groom themselves, don’t need to be taken for walks and come in a wide variety of patterns and colors. As Sigmund Freud once quipped, “Time spent with cats is never wasted.”
But even with cats, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing – especially when people don’t get their pets fixed. Indeed, the Aiken County Animal Shelter has been overcrowded with homeless cats since spring. From May through September, about 1,240 cats have been taken in by the shelter. That is an average of 248 surrendered or stray cats per month!
With so many strays and surrenders coming in and our facility at full capacity, we developed two other channels for cat adoptions.
These other adoption outlets include:
Barn Cat Program. Besides our domesticated cats and kittens on the adoption floor, we adopt out feral and less socialized felines as barn cats. These kitties are built more for the outdoors and serve as good mousers. Because of their wilder demeanor, the barn cats are available for free to those able to give them safe homes. However, there is still an application and screening process to adopt them.
PetSmart Cats. Thanks to fantastic FOTAS volunteers and PetSmart’s outstanding staff and management, we are able to care for, exhibit and adopt out County Shelter cats from the company’s Aiken store. Having this outstanding alternative outlet for adopters has saved many feline lives. So far this year, more than 116 of our shelter cats have been adopted from the PetSmart located at 2527 Whiskey Road.
Due to the unusually high number of homeless and stray cats and kittens being brought to the Shelter, FOTAS extended its $15 cat adoption special through November 30 and just yesterday held its second “Catpacity Saturday” in which all cats and kittens were adopted out for free.
The Shelter and FOTAS need these additional channels and specials to place more felines and are working overtime to save as many County Shelter cats as possible. But we need your help. Please spay/neuter your pets. The only way to get the cat/kitten overpopulation in check is to stop the problem at its source. There are a number of ways to get financial help with the surgery. You can obtain a county spay/neuter voucher at the Shelter; call the FOTAS fix-a-pet hotline for funding assistance – (803) 507-6315; or if your cat is outdoors and feral, check out our Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) program. For more information about these and other programs, please go to the FOTAS website, www.fotasaiken.org.
Their lives are in our hands.