As the holidays and cold weather quickly approach, we shouldn’t forget about our furry feline friends that frequently roam the streets. Quite often, there is a large number of animals waiting to be adopted by their forever family at the Peterborough Humane Society (PHS) and Lakefield Animal Welfare Society (LAWS).
An adoption agency like LAWS, for example, is run mostly by volunteers and rely on donations to stay open. They have many cats and kittens available for adoption right up until Christmas.
“We do adoptions during the month of December. We have to make sure the person receiving the gift knows it’s coming or is expecting a kitty,” said Mary Werner, a board member and volunteer at LAWS for 15 years.
“[W]e make sure everything is safe. We don’t hand them out quickly.”Executive Director of the Peterborough Humane Society Judy O’Brien also talked about the Adopt for the Holidays program they are running.
“Adult cats are available for $100 and kittens are available for $150. It includes everything, spayed/neuter, all vaccines, rabies shots, deworming and microchips,” said O’Brien.
She also suggests a few things to do when considering or giving the gift of a pet to someone. “First, you should get it from a shelter because the animals are fixed and it’s a good deal. Secondly, make sure the person wants the pet.
Thirdly, make sure the parents know and that there’s a quiet area where the animal can get away from the hectic nature of the holidays.” Both PHS and LAWS send some of their cats to PetSmart to assist in their adoptions.
Adopting a cat can be initially costly, and the price can vary based on the number of shots a kitten already has. LAWS offers a $50 refund voucher for spaying, which lowers the cost of adoption to $100, and education on cat overpopulation to anyone adopting a kitten.
“That’s the reason we have so many shelters and they are so crowded. We can’t take them all in. We educate the public on the importance of spaying and neutering,” Werner explained. Older cats are already spayed or neutered when they are adopted.
“There’s an overpopulation problem of cats no matter where you go in Canada. We have an overpopulation in Peterborough,” commented O’Brien.
Both organizations also have a fostering program for animals where a family takes in pregnant or recently pregnant cats and their kittens for a few months. This allows the cat to give birth and the kittens to grow in a safe, quiet space away from the risk of disease.
The kittens get their first set of needles, and are then brought to PetSmart to be adopted. Social media has recently shed more light on the issue of black cats and the low adoption rates. Although the reason may vary and no one reason is known, the first thought for most people is likely superstition.
“We have a lot of really nice black cats on-site. They’re very affectionate. I think it is just superstition and it’s unfortunate because they could be missing out on a really great pet.
We gradually get them adopted out. We had a black cats sale on Black Friday; we try to promote it that way. You have to really tell their story and not focus on the colour,” O’Brien said.
Werner said she doesn’t think it has anything to do with superstition – black dogs often get overlooked as well. “I think what happens is when you walk into an adoption room, colours catch your eye [and the] black cats get overlooked.”
The volunteers at LAWS put in hard work and much effort to draw people to the black cats that are shyer than others. Werner emphasizes that they can’t just sit around and wait for people to go to the black cats.
“There have been times where ones have been here a long time, we might even lower the price of adoption, not to lower the value of the kitties, but to say thank you for adopting them.
It’s up to shelters to work with people and make sure [the black cats] don’t get forgotten.”