WASHINGTON — The PAWS & More Animal Shelter in Washington is having a kitten crisis, as the shelter has more cats than they’ve ever had since opening in 1978.
Shelter Director Amber Talbot said compared to last year, it has already taken in nearly 90 more cats. This increase has caused the shelter to completely run out of space. Fifteen litters are in foster care currently and once those kittens are old enough to be at the shelter, they will need additional space.
“They just won’t stop coming in,” she said. “They’re coming in quicker than they’re going out.”
Talbot said the shelter has grown the foster care program and has participated in multiple adoption events to try and find homes for the animals. The events have been successful and support has poured in, but despite their best effort, the shelter has not been able to find enough homes for the sheltered animals fast enough to keep up with the number of animals being brought in.
For this reason, Talbot said the shelter has decided to reduce the cat adoption fee from $100 to $40. The fee will cover the cost of a spay or neuter treatment.
“We’ve done everything we can do and now we need to get the word out that people need to come adopt. It is really serious,” she said.
She said there are lots of options for people who do not necessarily want a cat in the house. Many friendly cats that would do well in an indoor/outdoor situation or live outdoors are available, she said.
There are no local resources or shelters to transfer the cats to, making adoption the only option for the shelter. For those who cannot adopt, monetary donations are needed to help purchase supplies and pay for medical procedures, she said.
The shelter is also working on an initiative to encourage individuals to take stray cats to the vet to get neutered or spayed and returning them to their outdoor location. She said for many cats, they are comfortable in their outdoor surroundings and only need to be spayed or neutered to help control the population.
Talbot said the increase in cats is completely “unprecedented” and a crisis they are trying to work through by lowering the adoption fee and trying to make it easier for the cats to find permanent homes.
“We just want to make good matches and get these animals into homes because at the end of the day, they are homeless and the alternative of sitting here in a cage is not a good life for them,” she said.
The PAWS & More Animal Shelter is located at 1004 West Madison Street, in Washington. More information can be found on their Facebook page, PAWS & More Animal Shelter, or by calling: 319-653-6713.