International Cat Day Sunday: Celebrate by saving a life

Cat waving, undated | Photo courtesy of Best Friends Animal Shelter, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Cats and kittens across the country are waving their adorable little paws from their shelters and foster homes in the hopes they’ll get noticed and adopted, or welcomed into a foster home. Best Friends Animal Society would like to take this opportunity to point out that there’s a perfect storm of reasons why now is an ideal time to adopt or foster a cat or kitten.

Billy, Jason and Trini, three cats awaiting adoption at Best Friends Animal Society, Undated | Photo courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society, St. George News

According to a recent survey conducted by Best Friends, 59% of people who are interested in adopting are delaying the process, largely due to lifestyle changes such as returning to the office, taking vacations, or starting a new job. But the need is now, and adopting or fostering cats and kittens promises to be mutually beneficial.

Why a cat? Why now?

Cats are easy, low-maintenance pets, and tend to be fun, playful and affectionate. Pets are good for us. Numerous studies have determined that the presence of pets is beneficial for our physical and mental health. The companionship of animals has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety, helping people to feel calmer and more secure no matter what’s going on in the outside world.

Not sure if you’ll be working from home or going back to the office? Cats don’t care. Felines are fine sleeping most of the day (and night) whether you’re home or not. Leave them with interactive toys for enrichment and food puzzles while you’re gone, and give them love and playtime when you’re home, and they’ll be content. Plenty of people work full time jobs and provide loving homes to foster or adopted pets. And if you’re worried about a lonely cat when you’re away from home, consider adopting two cats or kittens, so they’ll always have a feline friend to keep them company.

It’s kitten season! But shelters are also overflowing with adult cats

As the name implies, kitten season is the time of year when unspayed female cats have most of their kittens, and animal shelters are inundated by homeless and orphaned kittens who need help. Generally stretching from May to November, this is the time that people can help by adopting a cat or kitten (or a pair!) from a shelter or rescue group, fostering cats and kittens (including litters of newborns, or mama cats with babies) and getting their own cats spayed or neutered, to prevent more kittens from being born.  

A kitten born recently in St. George, undated | Photo courtesy of  Joshua Christensen, St. George News

It’s difficult for adult cats to get noticed by potential adopters when they’re competing with so many cute, fuzzy kitten faces. Enjoy the advantages of adopting an adult cat — while bypassing the wacky, naughty kitten behavior. You can choose a cat whose personality is already established and know exactly what you’re getting. Most kittens are cute and playful, but some turn out to have different dispositions when they reach adulthood.

You can save lives by helping community cats

Not ready to adopt or foster?  Outdoor free-roaming community cats make up the majority of cats killed in shelters. Communities which support and adopt Return-To-Field programs, where community cats enter the shelter, are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and returned to the original location they were found, and volunteer Trap-Neuter-Return programs, have seen a notable decrease in the number of cats entering shelters and a significant reduction in shelter deaths. Both are humane and effective alternatives to trap and kill, which has proven over decades to be ineffective.

Your next best friend could be waiting for you.

Written by: TEMMA MARTIN, Best Friends Animal Society

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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