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 it's more likely that they're just hungry. Hungry for food, hungry for attention, and though they may not know it exactly, hungry for a home.
In case you haven't been to our shelter in a while, you should know that we have a lot of cats. Right now, we have 82 cats and kittens on our adoption floor and over 40 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 please your eye and any temperament to match your personality.
We're currently running an adult cat adoption special to help them find homes, and to make room for all of the kittens who will soon be ready for the adoption floor. Just $25 gets you a feline friend, six months or older, who's already spayed or neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations, tested and microchipped. Kittens under six months old are available for a $75 adoption fee.
Want to be an even bigger hero? Consider adopting a long-term resident or a senior cat. Every day these cats are passed over for younger or newer cats, when they have just as much love and companionship to give. Plus, if you're a senior yourself, age 60 or older, you can adopt a senior pet, age 6 or older for just a $6 adoption fee.
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 the TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) 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 affordable 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 Veterinary Care Center is open for a full range of services Tuesday - Friday from 10am until 4pm and Saturdays from 9am until 3pm. A list of services and prices can be found at www.LetLoveLive.org/vetcare.
Sarah Neikam is the Marketing Director for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. She is an Aiken native and has been with the SPCA since 2012. Sarah lives in Graniteville with her husband, Tom, mother, Cheryl and three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady.