Caring Hands Humane Society in Newton is trying to find a solution to a problem it has faced for three decades: an overabundance of cats.
The shelter has taken in about 250 cats and kittens since May, and expects another 250 to arrive in July and August.
“Right now we have 150 cats in our care,” Will Tate, the shelter’s fundraising and marketing coordinator, said early Tuesday afternoon. “We just checked in 17.”
The first priority, Tate said, is finding homes for the animals, but the shelter also hopes to boost spay and neuter surgeries and change the idea that cats are “second-class animals.”
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Although many of the animals find homes, the number of homeless cats far exceeds the number of adopters, and many animals must be euthanized, the shelter said in a news release.
“While our immediate need is finding animals loving homes, we need to remember that there are bigger issues that cause this crisis for us every year,” Kevin Stubbs, executive director of Caring Hands, said in the release. “The community must realize that because we have a large population of cats that are not spayed or neutered, animals are going to die.”
Beginning July 1, Caring Hands offered to waive adoption fees for the first 25 cats or kittens adopted. As of Friday, 18 felines had been adopted.
Local veterinarians are doing their part, with Newton Animal Hospital, Great Plains Pet Hospital and All Creatures Veterinary Center offering free wellness exams. Passion for Pets, a Newton pet store, will throw in a free bag of cat food, and Orscheln Farm and Home, also in Newton, will donate a free bag of kitty litter and a litter box. These specials will be good for cats or kittens adopted through July 13.
As for adoption fees, Caring Hands charges only for kittens, allowing adult cats to be adopted without charge year-round, Tate said.
“Most humane societies have gone to that model because it’s incredibly hard to find homes for them,” he said.
The shelter also needs foster homes to care for baby animals until they are old enough to be spayed or neutered and then offered for adoption, Tate said.
“That’s a key step in keeping kittens healthy until they reach that 2-pound mark and can be neutered or spayed,” he said.
To stress the importance of spaying and neutering, Caring Hands offers a $65 voucher to any Harvey County resident that they can redeem toward the surgery for any cat or dog at area veterinarians.
For more information, call Caring Hands at 316-283-0839 or visit www.caringhandshs.org.