Adopt a Shelter Cat Month!

Adopt a shelter cat.We’ve all heard the saying about dogs being “man’s best friend,” but in recent years the number of pet cats in the US has surpassed the number of pet dogs—by nearly 12 million! While there are more homes with dogs than there are with cats, there are more cats per household. Those who want to join the ranks of happy cat owners or add to their existing cat family can do so anytime of year, but June is an especially good time to do it. With kitten season in the spring months, by June most shelters are packed full of cute little kittens as well as the usual stock of calmer, but still charming, adult cats. And they all need permanent homes. To help alleviate the crowding, the ASPCA and the American Humane Society have dubbed June “Adopt a Shelter Cat Month.”

Some people say, though, they don’t want to adopt a shelter cat because they prefer purebred cats or cats that don’t have “problems.” What they don’t know is that all different kinds of cats (and dogs), including purebreds, end up in shelters. It’s estimated that about 25% of the animals in shelters are “purebreds.” So if you’re looking for a fancy cat, take a look at your nearest shelter or rescue. You could find the Siamese or Persian (or another breed) of your dreams! Moreover, the vast majority of cats (and dogs) in shelters are there through no fault of their own. In fact, some of the most common reasons people give up their cats are “landlord issues” and allergies, neither of which your hopeful new kitty friends can control.

Besides the kitten population explosion each spring, there are some sobering reasons we should all adopt from shelters. Of the estimated 3.4 million cats that enter US shelters each year, only about 5% of those that go in as strays return to their families, and only 37% are adopted into new homes. Furthermore, of the nearly 96 million pet kitties in the US, only about 26% of them were adopted from a shelter or rescue. Clearly, there’s a problem. Fortunately, it’s a problem with a solution: adoption! (There are other parts to the solution, including spaying and neutering your pets, but that’s a discussion for another post.)

And why not adopt a cat? Cats are great! There are millions of families in the US right now who agree. But that brings us back to one of those other statistics: more homes have dogs. It turns out there are some misconceptions out there about cats. For example, many people think of cats as aloof and not affectionate, so when they go looking for a future best friend, they often ignore cats completely. Of course, cats are individuals like we are, so they won’t all be super friendly. However, cats do show affection to their human families in many very sweet ways.

Adding a cat to your family is relatively simple, but there are some things to be sure you’ve considered and planned. The American Humane Society has put together a great checklist of things to be sure you’ve considered before adopting a kitty. The first item on the list? Consider adopting two cats! Cats, like dogs, often thrive on companionship, and a pair can keep each other occupied while we’re at work all day.

Adopt a shelter cat.Once you’re ready to adopt your new kitty, you can go to The Shelter Pet Project to search for rescues and shelters in your area. During the month of June, you’ll also find events aimed at getting more cats adopted, too. In New Orleans, the LA-SPCA will be holding the Kitty Carnival June 20-21 when all kittens will be $25 each! The following weekend on June 27th, you can go to the 2nd Annual New Orleans Cat Art and Film Festival (NO-CAFF) at the Kingsley House. So even if you can’t adopt a new kitty this month, you can go celebrate all the wonderful things about them (and the proceeds will go to the area’s shelter cats)!

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