It's a CAT-astrophe!
HSBC is overflowing with cats & kittens and the calls keep coming!
We are not unique - the overpopulation of cats in Burnett County mirrors communities all over the country. Without being spayed or neutered, cats can and will begin to reproduce at 5 months of age and can have up to 3 litters per year - each litter being from 1 to 10 kittens! You can do the math! It's a CAT-astrophe!
Humane Societies, Trap Neuter and Release Programs and community cat advocates all work to reduce the overpopulation of cats in the most humane way possible. To further our mission of ending overpopulation of cats (and dogs), all are spayed or neutered prior to adoption (or if too young, a voucher is given for the surgery at the age appropriate time).
Ending overpopulation is a huge goal and will not be accomplished anytime soon. In the meantime, what should you - the public - do if you find stray cats or kittens? Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Not all "stray" cats are lost! Cats living in outdoor communities or as solitary animals can roam many miles daily and have found shelter and food - otherwise they wouldn't have been able to survive. If you begin to feed a "stray" - guess what? You have acquired a pet who has a reliable source of food!
- Momma cats are no different. They have found a secure location for their litters and will leave them in search of food. If you come across a litter without the mother, chances are she's out hunting. Don't move the kittens until and unless you are certain mom is not returning.
- Community, colony or barn cats do not do well in a shelter such as HSBC where our goal is to adopt them out as indoor house pets. Trap, neuter and release (TNR) is the best option for these cats, including kittens that have reached maturity. Getting them altered and returned to their original location is preferred over trapping them to bring to a shelter.
- HSBC (or any humane society) cannot accept an unlimited number of cats or kittens. Even with our new facility, we have limited space and resources. We try to have options such as foster homes for emergency situations, but PLEASE understand if we say we have no room - it's an unfortunate reality.
Here's a few FAQs that might help further explain our policies
- Don't Adoptions create space? Absolutely! That's why we ask you to call back in a week or two.
- Why don't you give away cats or kittens for free, or reduce your fees? Free adoptions are not sustainable. There are real costs associated with each cat, kitten (or dog) we rescue - spay/neuter surgeries, microchips, vaccinations and housing. Our regular cat adoption fee of $75 does not cover these costs and we rely on donors and sponsors to make up the difference.
- The adoption process is too long! Our goal is to process all adoption applications within 48 hours but we do have a responsibility to place every animal in a safe, qualified home. Generally the only time applications are denied are due to missing information or a history of abuse or neglect. This happens very rarely.
- Does HSBC euthanize cats or kittens? HSBC's euthanasia policy is that we DO NOT euthanize any animals for space! We have had cats (and dogs) with us for several years before they found their forever homes. If an animal is too sick or injured to be rehabilitated, euthanasia is then considered, but only as a last resort. Because of this policy, our space is limited and explains why we have to say, "sorry there's no more room".
What can you do to help HSBC help more cats and kittens?
- Adopt! Or if that's not an option for you, sponsor an adoption with a donation of $75
- Volunteer at the shelter cleaning the cat rooms and condos to take some of the burden off the staff
- Support TNR programs in our area with donations and volunteerism
- Build insulated cat housing to help cats/kittens survive until they can be trapped, neutered and released (or brought to HSBC) See below for an example of easy DIY insulated cat housing.
- If you get a "free" kitten from a friend or on Facebook - have that kitten spayed or neutered as soon as they are old enough!