In this issue:
Zoey’s place in the crowd
Zoey, a brown and white tabby with golden eyes, tentatively scans the exam room as she's lifted onto the examination table. Just a few hours before, she was at the home she'd known since she was a kitten, but her owner fell ill and reluctantly surrendered her. This is an unfamiliar place, so Zoey moans as a chorus of meows come from the nearby area, a staging area for incoming cats. Today's waiting list for initial exams is long. This exam room is the front lines of the kitten seasonal explosion, the first stop for Zoey and all the other cats and kittens that come into Animal Humane Society.
The sheer volume of surrendered and stray cats is incomprehensible. There can be as many as 70 a day coming into Animal Humane Society's five facilities. Kitten season runs from May-September, but the onslaught seemed to start early this year with the unseasonably warm weather in April. "Yesterday there were 20 cats that came in all at once," says Animal Humane Society Veterinary Tech Ann Pederson. "They just seem to come out of the woodwork and it's all ages. I never realized how many cats there were when I started working here. It blew me away."
As Ann checks Zoey's teeth and continues her exam, little meows come from a cage of three black and white kittens huddle around their exhausted mother. They were brought in by a social worker dealing with a family in crisis. Veterinary Tech Lindsay Liles gently weighs the mother cat and finds she's just 5.1 pounds, about half of what she should weigh. Kittens like this bunch come by the box full in the summer months. "If someone doesn't spay or neuter their cat, then they should not let them outside," says Animal Humane Society Veterinary Tech Lindsay Liles. "I don't think people realize how easy it is for them to get pregnant."
The next step for each cat depends on their exam results. Some cats will need more medical attention, so they won't go to the adoption floor right away. Others, like the kittens and their mother, will spend some time in foster care to give them time to grow a bit before they will be up for adoption. Then there are those like Zoey, who are healthy and ready to go to a new home right away. After she is microchipped, spayed and photographed, Zoey will head to the adoption floor. "It's nice knowing they're getting medical attention so we're sending out good animals. It's also nice to know someone is taking care of the ones that have no one to care for them, which brings me back each day," says Lindsay. "It is an epidemic. People don't realize it but we see it every day. It's what we do. And we'd love it if some day, our services were no longer needed."
How you can help reduce cat overpopulation
At Animal Humane Society cats are celebrated 365 days a year. But we're celebrating during the month of June-also known as Adopt a Cat Month-by sharing with you a few things you can do to make a difference in the lives of countless felines in need. There is no better time than right now to get started.
Millions of cats find themselves at animal shelters around the country each year; nearly 21,000 of those cats find themselves at AHS. It's going to take all of us working together to solve the cat overpopulation issue. You can help by doing any one of the following-and asking your friends and family to do the same!
Adopt a cat-Providing a home to a cat from Animal Humane Society will help more than just that one cat. It also provides another homeless cat the opportunity to find a new home.
Spay/neuter your cats-Spaying or neutering your cat is critical to reducing the number of cats and kittens flooding animal shelters and rescues throughout the state each year. According to Spay USA, one unspayed female, her unsterilized mate and all of their offspring can produce 11,801 kittens in just five years!
Microchip and ID-Many of the cats that make their way to shelters are strays. They don't make their way home again because they weren't identifiable. Increase your cat's chances of returning home by having him or her microchipped and identified with an ID tag and collar. AHS offers low-cost microchip clinics at each of its locations every month.
Keep them safe indoors-Despite popular belief, cats can be happy indoors. Keeping your cat inside removes them from the dangers of traffic, other animals and those who don't have their best interest at heart. Learn more by watching this short Fox 9 News segment with Animal Humane Society Training Manager Paula Zukoff.
Turn to Animal Humane Society before you surrender your cat-At AHS, we're here for all the stages of your cat's life. We offer a variety of services from our Behavior Helpline to therapy animal classes that can help you live a happier, healthier life with your cat.
Abundance of TLC given through foster care
Foster volunteer program in need of families
Twelve years ago, Joni Carlson and her family came to Animal Humane Society to adopt a dog. They saw a poster advertising the need for foster volunteers and decided instead of adopting one animal, they could help several. "Once we did it for the first time we just loved it, we were hooked" says Joni, who has been fostering animals ever since.
Joni is one of 400 foster volunteers at Animal Humane Society. Last year, 3,359 animals were cared for by foster volunteers until they were ready for adoption. This includes cats, dogs and rabbits that recently gave birth, baby animals that need to gain weight before surgery, and animals recovering from medical treatment.
The average length of stay in a volunteer's home is three to four weeks and during that time Animal Humane Society provides the supplies needed to care for the animal. Volunteers can specify which of the five sites they will take animals from and the types of animals they wish to care for.
Over the years, Joni and her family have cared for a variety of animals-dogs with new puppies, dogs recovering from medical treatments, and most recently kittens and baby bunnies. She says they plan on fostering animals as long as they can. "These animals don't ask to be born and brought into a world with a pet overpopulation problem. But they are here, so somebody needs to care for them until they find their forever families," says Joni.
Animal Humane Society Foster Coordinator Kelly Anderson says the need for foster volunteers is always there, but it's especially high in the summer months. "The number of animals that need foster care increases dramatically once kitten season begins. Last year nearly 2,600 of the animals placed in foster care were felines," says Kelly.
Kelly hopes to someday have enough foster volunteers to take in all the animals needing that extra one-on-one care. "Our goal is to reduce the amount of time that an animal spends in the shelter. I want every animal that is waiting for foster to be able to leave the shelter the very next day."
Click here to learn more about becoming a foster volunteer and to fill out an application
Audit shows failure by USDA to enforce Animal Welfare Act
Violations ignored, penalties waived, inspectors inadequately trained
The Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released a scathing report about how the USDA is handling inspections of large-scale breeding facilities (puppy and kitten mills). The report provides evidence to show to legislators and others that the inhumane breeding of dogs and cats must stop and enforcement must improve. State and local action must also be a part of the solution. Read a few stories from the report…
Please take action by lending your voice to animals as an Animal Humane Society Animal Advocates. Information coming soon on what you can do this summer.
Pet Dish Pet Tips with Paula Zukoff
In this installment of Pet Dish Pet Tips, Animal Humane Society's Behavior and Training Manager, Paula Zukoff will show you how to get your dog to potty in one spot.
Don’t forget to send us your training questions
Is your pet itching to add a few tricks to his repertoire? Do you have questions about your pet’s behavior and what you can do to help her be a better family pet? Let us know your training question by sending us an email - or better yet sending a video showing us the problems you're having with your pup! Send vidoes and emails to email@example.com.