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Grab a couple of cans of cat food or a sack of kitty kibble and adopt an adult cat for free during CATSTRAVAGANZA this weekend.

Four local shelters are waiving their adoption fees in hopes of finding loving homes for adult cats and to make room for more homeless felines, said Barbara Talbert, director of Jackson County Animal Care and Control Center.

The free adult cat adoption will go from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Sunday, Nov. 9-10, at four shelters: the Southern Oregon Humane Society, Sanctuary One, Committed Alliance to Strays and the Jackson County animal shelter. All cats available for free adoption will be at least a year old, fully vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Many will be micro-chipped, Talbert said.

Local animal shelters are overflowing with adult cats, after what has been a long kitten season that persisted throughout the warm summer months and into the fall. The four shelters have a combined total of about 400 cats and kittens either in their facilities or in foster homes awaiting adoption, she said.

Talbert said the agencies have combined forces to save more lives by keeping these adoptable animals healthy, in spite of the crowded conditions.

"Now it's up to the community to help get these beautiful adult cats out of cages and into homes to make room for more coming in," she said.

Last year the event resulted in homes for more than 100 cats. Organizers hope for an even better turnout this year. But the empty cages of adopted cats will become occupied by more cats and kittens in as little as one day, Talbert said.

The list of people waiting to bring in strays to the Committed Alliance to Strays extends into December. Southern Oregon Humane Society still has a long list of people wanting to surrender a cat. In order to accommodate the large number of stray cats coming in, the county shelter has not had enough room to accept owner-surrendered cats for months now, Talbert said.

The high numbers of homeless Jackson County cats are the direct result of pet owners failing to spay and neuter their animals. Studies show that one mating cat can result in thousands of cats and kittens in just a handful of years, said Kenn Altine, director of the Southern Oregon Humane Society.

The desperate and ongoing need for adoption efforts such as CATSTRAVAGANZA is only a symptom of the bigger problem of pet overpopulation, Altine said.

To address the cause, pet owners need to spay and neuter their pets, he said.

Contact Spay and Neuter Your Pets at 541-858-3325 or visit online at www.spayneuter.org to learn more about its ongoing programs and the annual feral cat spayathon, which is also happening this weekend.

Donated food for the adoption event not used at the shelters will be given to ACCESS Inc. for its clients' pets, Talbert said.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.