Each year in early summer, shelters and rescues across the country are inundated with thousands of kittens in need of loving homes. That’s why June is Adopt-a-Cat Month.
Spring isn’t just about sunshine, green grass and flowers. It’s also about kittens – lots of them. Like birds, bunnies and other critters, unfixed cats that roam at large are at the height of their reproductive powers during the spring and early summer. That means shelters and rescues are flooded with unwanted kittens, and their resources stretched to the limit as they try to care for and find homes for them all.
Since 1975, the American Humane Association has been doing its part for these kitties with Adopt-a-Cat Month, held every June. “Each year, particularly around June, animal shelters see an increase of cats and kittens being put up for adoption,” says American Humane spokesperson Kelley Baca Weir. “Because of the timing of their heat cycle, this time is especially known for the birth of millions of kittens. Tragically, about 71% of these animals will be euthanized because there are not enough loving homes for them. The estimated population of homeless cats in the United States (70 million) is almost equal to the number of household cats (75 million).” As its name suggests, Adopt-a-Cat Month is devoted to doing everything possible to find good homes for all these cats and kittens. “The event encourages adoptions from shelters, promotes the benefits of having a cat and informs the public about how to care for their animals responsibly,” says Kelley. “Thousands of shelters and rescues participate by holding adoption events, offering free spay and neuter clinics and celebrating cats as the unique, loyal and loving animals they are.”
To assist the shelters in their efforts, American Humane offers an online events kit that can be downloaded right from their website at www.americanhumane.org/AACM. “It includes sample press releases, radio PSA scripts, a printable poster and ideas to help promote the month at the shelter or rescue organization. For our public campaign, we work with sponsors to hold special events, send out public service announcements and offer tips on the best ways to adopt and care for cats.” These tips encompass everything from how the adoption process works to behavior, training, safety and why cats make such good companions. American Humane not only urges new cat guardians to ensure their kitties are spayed or neutered, but to also make sure they have proper identification in the form of ID tags and microchipping.
Each year, around four million cats end up at shelters. Trying to find homes for them all is daunting, but Kelley and her colleagues at American Humane are making a difference. “While there are no statistics to show just how many cats have been adopted in the last 35 years since we started Adopt-a-Cat Month, our efforts have had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of cats,”
says Kelley. “That makes every year of campaigning completely worth it.”