When I look at the cat in the box I wonder – how can so many people grow tired of their pets and drop them off at animal shelters? I just don’t get it. The cat in the box is Scarlett and we were a team since I adopted her and her brother Rhett as kittens almost 20 years ago. They lived a happy spoiled life with us and we said good-bye to Rhett five years ago and to Scarlett a year ago today.
They are on my mind as I write about National Cat Day. You see, cats outnumber dogs as pets in America by about 12 million – but they don’t get the star treatment for life. National statistics show that cats are far more likely to be left at a shelter than the family dog. Meanwhile, only two-percent of cats that come into shelters and rescues as strays are ever reunited with their families (for dogs the number is about 15-percent). Since adult cats are less likely to be adopted, many of them are euthanized.
The Animal Miracle Network has designated October 29 as National Cat Day to help increase adoptions and to also shed light on these sad feline statistics. Each year, the organization shoots for 10,000 cat adoptions nationally and helped find homes for over 12,000 cats in 2010. They’ve picked the end of October because the black cat that has become such a symbol for Halloween takes the longest to find a home in shelters. While I’m a huge proponent of adult cat adoption, it’s not always the right thing or right time for everyone. With that in mind, here are a few ways to celebrate National Cat Day –
Adopt a cat – Talk to adoption counselors at your local shelter or rescue about what you want and expect from a pet. They can help match you with the personality that fits your lifestyle. Strongly consider an adult cat and don’t overlook black cats, seniors, special needs cats, FIV positive cats and bonded pairs. These cats often wait longest for a home and may actually be the best fit for your lifestyle.
Donate to a shelter or sponsor a cat – If you can’t adopt or don’t have room for another cat, consider sponsoring a shelter cat to help pay for their care while they wait for a home. You can also donate online for most shelters.
Recycle for cats – Newspapers, old towels, old blankets and sheets are items that most shelters use everyday. Consider donating them to help out the animals. It won’t cost you a thing and you’ll be helping care for many furry critters.
Spare some change – Pennies are overlooked these days. They sit at the bottom of your purse or on the dresser accumulating dust. Start a penny drive at your school, church or local business. It doesn’t take long for those pennies to add up.
Volunteer – Shelters and rescues need volunteers to care for the animals, provide foster care, to promote events and to work events.
Host a supply drive – Pull a list of items needed by your local shelter and rescue and host a supply drive at your school, church or scouting organization.
Several shelters and rescues have special programs to help promote adoptions. At Tree House Humane Society, adoption fees are waived for FIV positive cats all the time and the organization is currently waiving adoption fees for adult cats. The Anti-Cruelty Society is running a “CatPaign” for their longest feline residents by waiving adoption fees for the five cats who have waited longest for a home. Save-a-Pet offers long-term foster care and adoption with incentives programs to help place some of the pets who have been there the longest or may have special needs. Young at Heart offers a Heart to Heart program for Seniors in which adoption fees are waived for seniors who adopt animals older than 10.
Do you volunteer or work for a shelter or rescue that has programs you’d like to promote? If so, contact me at [email protected] Enjoy this article? Receive email alerts when new articles become available. Just click on the subscribe button above. You may also follow me on Twitter, Facebook or read my blog.