Animal facilities overrun with cats; Groups lower fees to attract adoptersDelaine Fragnoli
Animal welfare groups in Plumas County are urging the public to adopt cats. Both Plumas County Animal Shelter and Plumas Animal Welfare Society have lowered their adoption fees in an effort to find homes for the glut of felines currently crowding their facilities.
PAWS routinely rescues cats from the shelter if they are at risk of being put down. But the PAWS facility, known as the Cathouse, is full. Without that outlet, as the county shelter fills up, officials say they will have no choice but to begin euthanizing animals.
Kathy Nixon, director at PAWS, said the Cathouse has about 26 cats, from unfixed kittens right through to adult cats that have spent their entire lives at the shelter — leaving no room for incoming animals.
Fiends of the Plumas County Animal Shelter, a nonprofit support group, says 10 adoptable cats have already been destroyed. The group has until the end of the month to find homes for about three dozen cats at risk of euthanasia.
PAWS recently dropped its adoption fee from $60 to $25 to help increase adoptions. The fee pays for spaying and neutering, shots, a feline leukemia test and other veterinary care the cats might have needed. Owners receive a card in their adoption packet showing proof of vaccination and vet care.
For unaltered felines too young to alter, the fee remains $60, although the new owners can get a $50 rebate with proof of spay/neuter.
The county facility usually requires a $10 fee and $50 refundable spay/neuter deposit to adopt a cat. To encourage adoptions, the shelter is offering fee-free fixed cat adoptions this month, subsidized by Friends. The animals are spayed/neutered, and Friends will pay for the service later for young cats that have not yet been fixed.
Friends plans to staff the shelter so it will be open seven days a week in November. (See sidebar for details.) Volunteers will also be in the shelter nightly from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for cleaning. The public is welcome to come in, look and adopt during those hours.
PAWS founder Stephanie Leaf attributed the difficulty of finding homes for the animals to the bad economy. She said, “It’s hard for people to care for the animals they have, let alone take on additional animals.”
Friends said many of the cats at the shelter are “owner released — people are moving and can’t/won’t take the animal with them or more likely the cat had kittens and now everyone is deposited in the shelter.”
But the root of the problem, said the group, is the “nonexistent and much-needed countywide plan to get animals spayed and neutered.”
Leaf said the community has been “an enormous support” for the 12-year-old PAWS nonprofit.
While she didn’t want to discourage monetary donations, what PAWS needs most right now are volunteers. She said it’s hard to find volunteers who can make the regular time commitment required for the sometimes physically demanding job.
Leaf said cats make wonderful companions and now is the time to adopt given the wide selection available.