It's kitten season, and as adorable as that sounds, it's not a good thing. Every spring, thousands of kittens end up in animal shelters. To raise awareness, American Humane designates every June National Adopt a Cat month. Here's what you can do to help.
But first, some numbers
According to the ASPCA, every year about 3.2 million cats enter shelters across the US. Of these, 860,000 are euthanized yearly. The number of stray cats in America is a staggering estimated 58 million. Consider adopting your next cat from a shelter, or opening your home to an elderly or disabled cat. We give our own cats the best life possible, but there are ways to help cats that are less fortunate. Read on to see how you can help.
Here's how you can help
Even if you don't plan on getting a cat this year, there are other ways to help the cause. Here are five things you can do to support cats and kittens in shelters:
Spay and neuter your cats. The most important thing anyone can do to prevent the influx of cats in shelters is to prevent them from having kittens in the first place. Everyone loves kittens, but not many want to keep an entire litter of them. Spay and neuter your cats!
Start or support local Trap Neuter Return programs. Many communities run catch and release programs to support local stray cats. Stray cats are humanely trapped, looked over for any health problems, and spayed and neutered -- then released back into their communities. These programs rely on volunteers to feed and look over local cat colonies. To find out more about how you can help, visit the Alley Cat Allies website.
Donate to a local shelter. Support your local shelter by making a donation, whether it's money or food, or even some toys or soft blankets for the cats.
Volunteer at a local shelter. If you can't afford to donate money, consider donating some of your time. Many shelters run almost entirely on volunteer work, and just a few hours per week of helping out can help tremendously. And you get to spend more time with animals. What could be better?
Find other ways to help. There are plenty of other ways you can help shelters match their animals to loving homes. If you're handy with a camera, you can offer to take high quality photos of adoptable pets. If you're in marketing, help a shelter run a marketing campaign. Consider lending your skills to a shelter, whatever they are. You'll be saving lives.
You can find a list of local animal shelters on the All Paws website. This June, make a difference. If you can't adopt a cat, then help others do so. Every kitty deserves a loving forever home.
Is your cat a shelter cat?