June is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month, and just one more reason to show shelter cats some love. But this annual holiday takes on extra significance during the pandemic, which has left overcrowded U.S. shelters struggling to accommodate soaring intakes of animals with limited staff and funding.
The situation is especially dire because it’s also kitten season, during which shelters find themselves struggling to accommodate a seasonal surge in felines. This urgent combination of factors even led American Humane Association, which founded Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month in 1974, to rebrand this year’s holiday for the first time in 45 years.
This year, AHA is encouraging people to adopt a “pandemic pet” to help the millions of shelter kittens and cats desperately seeking new homes and relieve the pressure on overcrowded U.S. animal shelters. “Shelters are swamped in the best of times, and with more and more staff in every sector of American life self-quarantining and falling ill, animals already abandoned and without homes are increasingly vulnerable,” American Humane president and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert said.
“At the same time, so many of us, especially the elderly, are coping with the loneliness, stress and anxiety that comes with isolation and sheltering in place so necessary during a pandemic,” she continued. “Why be home alone when you can snuggle up with a loving new buddy? You might save a life, improve your own during these trying times, and end up with a new best friend.”
AHA also encourages cat lovers to donate to their “Feed the Hungry Campaign,” which has delivered 300,000 meals to shelter animals. Shopping and clicking daily at the Animal Rescue Site, where purchases fund at least 35 bowls of food for shelter animals, is another way to help homeless pets.
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In addition to promoting adoption, Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month seeks to spread the word about unique issues faced by our feline friends. For instance, researchers have found cats receive less veterinary care, feature in fewer scientific studies, are more likely to be feral, and run a greater risk of euthanasia than their canine counterparts. This injustice persists even as Americans own more cats than dogs, leading cats to be known as “America’s Favorite Pet.”
“There are literally millions of reasons to rescue a cat in need during our Adopt-a-Cat Month and at every other time of year,” Ganzert continued. “You can find every one of them at your local shelter or rescue and, with time, each will give you a million reasons to be glad you did.” Adopt, don’t shop!
J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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