With all of this excitement and talk about Barkaritaville and dogs, let's bring the cats into the spotlight this week.

Right now, there are 70 cats and kittens mewing, frolicking and napping in the "Kitty Kat Kastle" adoption area of the SPCA Albrecht Center.

They're all right up front to greet you when you walk through the lobby doors.

And then there are the 73 cats and kittens you don't see who are in the "Kitty Kat Kare" holding area.

These cats are new arrivals, waiting for veterinary checks, vaccinations, or undergoing medical treatment for various conditions before they can be placed on the adoption floor.

You may remember the SPCA's "Empty the Shelter, Fill Your Heart" free adoption event held in August that was very well attended and resulted in every one of the dogs being adopted, but wasn't as successful for the cats.

So, we're giving it another shot, but just for the cats this time. This week, October 1st - 8th, is CATober at the SPCA Albrecht Center!

Adoption fees are waived for all cats and kittens on the adoption floor. That's 70 adorable, affectionate, playful and purring cats and kittens available for adoption with ZERO adoption fee.

A fee-waived adoption event is great news to a lot of potential adopters, but it has been known to cause concern to many pet owners who believe that free pet adoptions devalue a pet in the eyes of the adopter and can increase the risk of poor pet care, abandonment, or even cruelty.

Thankfully, research and studies have been completed by national organizations, including the ASPCA and Maddie's Fund, indicating that this is not the case at all. In fact, the ASPCA's finding was that these adoption events "dramatically impact the lives of thousands of shelter cats who would otherwise reside in a shelter for months or be euthanized."

With that in mind, I hope you will consider opening your heart and home to one of these fantastic felines, like Pepsi, a lovely, tortoiseshell female who is very affectionate and can be quite vocal when she wants attention, or Mr. Stubbins, a handsome, black and white Manx mix with a cute bobbed tail.

Or there is Jack, a beautiful black, medium-hair, senior cat available for adoption. He's usually quite mellow, but can be playful too and loves to be loved. And Teensie, an exuberant, black female kitten who was bottle-fed and lovingly cared for by one of our amazing volunteers along with her siblings, who have already been adopted.

We even have a few "special needs" kitties if you're looking to be an extra special rescuer. There's Rukia, a young, brown and white tabby female who was born without eyelids. She is currently undergoing treatment, and may need further treatment or surgery in the future, but right now she's perfectly happy and playful just like any other kitten.

Then there's Yukiko and Saphira, solid white mother and daughter cats who are both deaf. They may not respond to "Here, kitty kitty" like the other cats, but they are otherwise very alert and playful. Cloud and Marie are the other two daughters of Yukiko, also solid white, but with normal hearing.

These are just a very few of the many, many wonderful cats and kittens waiting for loving homes right now. If you've been thinking about adopting a cat, this week is the perfect time to find your new feline friend with $0 adoption fees. Adoption includes each cat's spay or neuter surgery, up-to-date vaccinations and a microchip.

And though there is no adoption fee, it's important to remember that any pet comes with a lifetime of ongoing expenses like food, toys and vet care, so thoughtful consideration should always be given before committing to the adoption of a pet.

As always, adoptions are subject to application approval. Proof of any current pet(s) rabies vaccination is required and you will need a pet carrier to transport your new cat home. This adoption special runs through October 8th. Adoption hours are Monday - Saturday, 11:00am until 4:30pm and the shelter is located at 199 Willow Run Road, in Aiken.

Sarah Neikam is the Communications & 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.

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The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare is a

tax-exempt 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization.

EIN: 57-0329782

  199 Willow Run Road  Aiken, SC 29801      Shelter: (803) 648-6863    Vet Care: (803) 648-6864

Copyright 2014     SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare      All rights reserved