Meow. Meooooow. That's usually the first sound I hear when stepping out of my car in the SPCA parking lot each morning. The caterwauling of hungry cats.
I like to think it's their morning greeting, "Hello! Welcome back! So happy to see you again!" But they're just hungry. Hungry for food and attention and waiting for a forever home.
In case you haven't been to our shelter in a while, you should know that we have a lot of cats. How many is a lot? Well, for the sake of this article, I counted. Right now we have 58 cats and kittens on our adoption floor and 52 more in holding, just waiting on their chance at a forever home.
Some are adult cats who were strays or surrendered by their owners. Most are kittens who were found in the City of Aiken by Animal Control officers or picked up by residents. Litters of one, two, five, seven, or more in shades of black, brown, white, orange, grey and everything in between and almost any combination you can imagine.
And we are just one shelter. The Aiken County Animal Shelter has their own multitude of meows. So do all of the other shelters in South Carolina, Georgia and all across the country. The numbers add up to approximately 3.4 million cats entering shelters nationwide each year.*
Some of them are returned to their owners and many of them are adopted. But sadly, 41% of cats that enter shelters each year, are euthanized.* There simply are not enough adopters to go around and the cats keeping coming in.
How can you help? Well, for the immediate need, be a hero - adopt! We have kittens, adult cats, short haired, long haired, in any color to match your decor and any temperament to match your personality.
We're currently running a cat adoption special to help them find homes. Just $20 gets you a furry friend who's already spayed or neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations, tested and microchipped. $20 adoption fees! You simply can't beat that deal.
Want to be an even bigger hero? Consider adopting a cat that's passed over by most adopters. Daisy & Doogie, a charming black & white duo are in foster care while they await adoption. They're in foster care because they have both tested positive for the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) which is actually not as scary as it sounds.
Despite their FIV+ status, Daisy and Doogie are healthy, playful and full of love. We recommend they not be adopted into a family with another cat (unless that cat is also FIV+) but since they are kittens, they will adapt well into almost any other type of home.
To learn more about adopting them or about FIV, call us at 803-648-6863 or visit our website: www.LetLoveLive.org
Want to help on a larger scale? Spay and neuter. When pet owners are proactive about preventing unintended births, far fewer animals end up in already crowded shelters, resulting in far fewer being euthanized. Spay and neuter your pets and be an advocate for the cause: tell your friends, family and neighbors. Have them call us for information and affordable options or visit our website at www.LetLoveLive.org/spay-neuter.
You can help fix the over-population of stray and community cats as well. Through our TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) program, free-roaming cats are humanely trapped, sterilized, medically treated, ear-tipped and returned to the outdoor location where they were found. Visit our website at www.LetLoveLive.org/TNR to see how the program works.
Not a cat person? That's okay! We have plenty of dogs to go around and our spay and neuter services extend to them as well.
Visit us virtually at www.LetLoveLive.org to see photos of adoptable pets. Meet them in person at 199 Willow Run Road, Aiken SC. Our shelter is open Monday - Saturday from 11am until 5pm and Sundays 11am until 3pm.
Spay and neuter services are by appointment only. Call 803-648-6863, ext 1 to schedule. Our clinic is open for vaccinations and wellness services on a walk-in basis Tuesday - Friday from 10am until 12pm and 1pm until 4pm. Saturday hours are 9am until 3pm. A list of services and prices can be found at www.LetLoveLive.org/clinic.
Sarah Neikam is the Marketing Director for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. She previously held the role of Volunteer Coordinator and has a background in business administration. Sarah lives in Graniteville with her husband, Tom, mother, Cheryl and three adopted cats: Bastian, Eddie and Luna.