GREENFIELD — Looking to add a furry friend to your family? Now is a good time to do it, officials say, and local shelters could use some relief.
Two animal adoption groups have reached capacity for housing cats — a result, local officials say, of people not spaying and neutering their pets. Meanwhile, they’re asking residents to consider adopting or fostering the cats in their facilities.
Greenfield-Hancock Animal Management has taken in more than 100 cats and kittens and is working to get them adopted. The shelter has room for about 80, prompting officials to promote a foster program.
Story continues below gallery
Partners for Animal Welfare Society, a nonprofit organization that operates a local shelter, has 18 cats and 19 kittens. Organizers there say the shelter can support that number, but an influx of more cats would strain resources.
Chelsey Folsom, kennel manager at Greenfield-Hancock Animal Management, said shelters are especially full this year because kitten season hasn’t tapered off as expected.
Kitten season, which generally peaks in early summer, is when cats give birth following mating season, which typically begins in March, according to the Humane Society of the United States. It typically starts in spring and ends in fall, and animal shelters begin to overflow with kittens in early summer.
Folsom said animal management, which is responsible for taking in all stray cats and dogs in the county, has kept taking in kittens even as summer comes to an end. She said the cat shelter is full. As a result, officials are allowing people to foster cats until permanent homes can be found. That’s not something the shelter does regularly, she said.
“We don’t want to just give (a cat) to anybody to foster,” she said. “We really have to find the right fit, … someone who will know how to get them adopted and choose the right family for the cat.”
PAWS also has opportunities for residents to foster cats or kittens, and both agencies hope to find permanent homes for the animals.
Nancy Rubino, executive director of PAWS, said it’s disappointing the shelters are full of kittens because the agency hoped its effort to get more cats neutered and spayed would make a difference.
Twice a month, the agency hosts a low-cost spay-and-neuter clinic for cats and dogs. It costs $30 for males to be neutered, and $35 for cats to be spayed. There’s a discount if someone brings in multiple cats for the surgery.
Spaying or neutering the animals is key in solving the overpopulation problem, experts say.
Stray cats birth the majority of kittens born in a community every year, Rubino said, and those kittens flood animal shelters during the early summer, taxing resources including space and food.
“I really can’t stress that enough,” Rubino said. “We can’t adopt our way out of the problem. It all comes down to getting them spayed and neutered.”
Cats as young as 5 months old can become pregnant, so it’s important to spay or neuter them early, according to the Humane Society of the United States. The procedure typically can be done once a kitten is 2 months old.
Animal management is working with animal rescues to find homes for the cats and kittens and using social media to promote adoption.
PAWS holds adoption events at Tractor Supply, 1645 N. State St., Greenfield, on the first and third Saturday of every month.
Both agencies suggest families looking to adopt a cat stop in and spend some time with the animal first. At animal management, adoptions cost $25. At PAWS, they range from $15 to $100.
Animal management’s foster-to-adopt program allows people to take home an animal for three days before committing to adopting.
Greenfield Hancock Animal Management is open Monday through Saturday for adoptions.
Residents interested in adopting an animal may visit the shelter between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
For more information, call 317-477-4367.
Adoptions cost $25 and include a certificate to get the cat spayed or neutered, required shots and other preventive care.
The adoption center at PAWS is open from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and by appointment.
Adoptions range in cost from $15 to $100 and include spaying or neutering, required shots and other preventive care.
For more information, call 317-318-9483 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I really can’t stress that enough. We can’t adopt our way out of the problem. It all comes down to getting them spayed and neutered.”
Nancy Rubino, executive director of Partners for Animal Welfare Society