Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Adopt A Cat

We first met in the sunroom, Shadow and I. It was a Wednesday and it was my first night volunteering at one of our local pet shelters. As soon as I walked into the room, I saw this huge gray and black fur ball running toward my direction. She has sharp eyes and a faint voice that was a remarkable contrast to her plump body and dark color. From that moment on, we were inseparable, at least in my dreams because I couldn’t take her home just yet.

Shadow is only one of the millions of pets housed in thousands of pet shelters across America. As of this month, the Humane Society of the United States estimates that there are 6 to 8 million cats and dogs in shelters. Of these, 3 to 4 million are adopted (50 percent), while 30 percent of the dogs and only 2-5% of the cats are reunited with their owners. While the number of pets hits the staggering millions, the number of pet shelters averages at 5,000.

If these pets are not adopted or reclaimed by their owners, they die of natural causes, old age in their shelters or foster homes, or pet euthanasia. Shelters who allow pet euthanasia put down 3 to 4 million cats and dogs annually, roughly half of the population entered. These pets may have been euthanized for sickness, injuries or behavioral problems. Whatever reason a pet is euthanized for, it all boils down to one issue: overcrowding.

The two charts in this page give you a clearer picture of the plight of pets and pet shelters across America.

These numbers tell only half of the story. In America, there are approximately 65 million owned dogs and 78 million cats. In both these categories, only 16-17 percent were adopted from animal shelters; the rest were mostly bought from pet stores, whose sources are breeders and puppy or kitty mills. Now, don’t even get me started on the issue of puppy mills, but to give you an idea on how puppy mills worsen the pet overpopulation situation, read this.

Pet shelter operators and animal rights advocates are seeking our help in controlling pet population, first by having our pets spayed or neutered. This way, we can slowly reduce the number of pets we have to enter into shelters and euthanized. To find a local pet or participating veterinarians and purchase low-cost spay/neuter certificates, visit the
Friends of Animals Web site.

Next, if you or anyone you know are thinking of having a pet, consider adopting from pet shelters. Give these pets a chance to experience living in a home with a warm family. Give them a chance to make you smile, just like Shadow did to me.

1 comment:

Hot(M)BC said...

100% of us at the House of the (Mostly) Black Cats were rescues! If it weren't for our nice beans, we woulda ended up in shelters! We posted your linky and info on the Cat Blogosphere so's cats can find you guys easier! Fanks for all the infomashun!
Sanjee, Boni, Mini, Pepi and Gree