Declaring an El Nino of sorts in cat overpopulation, two local shelters will once again host “fee-free” adoption events this weekend.
Heading into winter, and after an extended “kitten season,” shelter officials from both the Jackson County Animal Shelter and Medford’s Southern Oregon Humane Society will waive adoption fees for adult cats — any felines six months or older — this Saturday and Sunday.
The event, dubbed “Catstravaganza,” is geared at finding forever homes for adult cats. The focus, to reduce kennel stress for longtime residents of the shelter and to offer a reprieve for overtaxed foster families, has been beneficial for both shelters in past years when cat populations have become overwhelming.
“Shelters really got kind of inundated with cats and kittens this year, and the season has lasted longer than usual. Right now, we still have probably between 65 and 70 kittens in foster care, which is unusual this late in the year,” said Jackson County Animal Services Director Barbara Talbert.
“We’ve done this event before, but by then the kittens are gone and we’ve just got these adult cats. Now we’re heading into winter and we need to get these adult cats out of the shelter while we’ve still got so many kittens, too. Our goal is to get these adult cats out of the shelter and make room to be able to give the staff and our fosters a break. It’s been a long haul.”
“Adult cats are the hardest animals in shelters to place," said Ryan Johnson, Southern Oregon Humane Society operations director. "Kitten season has lasted so long the last couple years, three quarters of the year before it starts up again, and kittens are always available for adoption. It’s hard to resist those tiny kittens, so the adults get passed up.
“We have some really great adult cats. We hold this Catstravaganza to give an incentive for families to give these cats a good home. We also try to do what we can to reduce barriers, and we don’t want adoption fees to be a barrier for someone to adopt an animal.”
Talbert and Johnson said both shelters would have their usual vetting process for adopting the cats.
“The adoption process is identical to what it would normally be. The process to adopt doesn’t change. Just the fee,” Johnson said. “We’ll still be doing our usual process and making sure the cats go to an adequate home.”
Talbert estimated 30 to 40 adult cats would be available at the county shelter, while Johnson said the Humane Society shelter has about two dozen adult cats available.
“Last year we cleared the room. By the end of the event, our hope is the room will be empty like it was last time,” Johnson said. “And within a week, I’m sure it will be full again.”
All adoptable cats are fully vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Some will be microchipped. While adult cats will be free, kittens will be available at regular fees.
Jackson County Animal Services is at 5595 S. Pacific Highway, Phoenix, and is open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, see fotas.org.
Southern Oregon Humane Society is at 2910 Table Rock Road, Medford, and is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, see sohumane.org.
— Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at email@example.com.