Tuesday, May 26, 2009
WCCO News and Star Tribune report
Incoming feline numbers at Animal Humane Society (AHS) exceed 2,000 a month from early summer to fall. During this time thousands of kittens are taken in resulting in a dramatic decline of adult cat adoptions. AHS hopes to provide these adult cats a better chance at being adopted through an innovative new program now in its second year called Mission: Meow.
Mission: Meow is a partnership between AHS and the public whereby animal lovers take in an adult feline houseguest this summer and bring him or her back in the late fall when the animal has a better chance at being adopted. In return, AHS provides a litter box and all food, toys and litter.
Watch coverage on WCCO by clicking the video link below.
Or read the Star Tribune's report.
This innovative program is designed to combat a problem experienced by animal welfare organizations throughout the U.S. Many shelters do not have the space to accommodate the thousands of cats that flood their facilities each summer. “There is a whole different mindset when it comes to cats,” explains Cindy Johnson, director of customer service at AHS. “There is a belief that cats should be allowed outside to roam and many aren’t sterilized. Our spay/neuter messages don’t seem to hit home with cat owners.”
In 2008, AHS took in nearly 22,000 felines. Each cat and kitten placed on its adoption floors is sterilized to prevent future unwanted litters. Still AHS’s five locations traditionally receive 70 cats per day in the summer months compared to 40 cats per day during the rest of the year.
According to Janelle Dixon, president and CEO of AHS, the need for the program demonstrates the complexity of cat overpopulation. “We’re burning the candle at both ends. We’re spaying/neutering each feline that comes into our care throughout the year, yet still taking in thousands each month during the summer months and into fall. It’s an incredible situation and we’ve implemented Mission: Meow and are working toward the possibility of subsidized spay/neuter to make a difference for these cats.”
Foster periods for the program run a minimum of six months with start dates throughout the summer months. Prospective Mission: Meow foster volunteers will need to complete a required application and interview process. Those accepted into the program will receive brief training before taking an adult cat home.
The public’s cost to foster an adult cat is little to none. Each cat is vaccinated, de-wormed, spayed/neutered and microchipped prior to joining their temporary family. Participants are able to pick up food and litter refills at any of the five AHS locations during the foster period. Interested participants should visit www.animalhumanesociety.org/missionmeow or call (763) 432-4826.
Last year, 129 adult cats were provided temporary homes during kitten season through Mission: Meow.