Meow. Meooooow. That's usually the first sound I hear when stepping out of my car in the SPCA Albrecht Center's parking lot each morning. The fall mornings seem to make the cats more active than usual in the early hours of each day and they're enjoying the crisp, cool air in our facility's screened cat colonies.
I like to think their morning caterwauling is their way of saying, "Hello! Welcome back! So happy to see you again!" But more likely, 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 60 cats and kittens on our adoption floor and 45 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. Kittens, adults, and seniors in 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, fall for a feline and adopt! We have kittens, adult cats, short haired, long haired, in any color to match your decor and any temperament to match your personality.
For just a $75 adoption fee, you'll rescue a furry friend who's already spayed or neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations, tested and microchipped. They say money can't buy happiness, but an adoption fee sure can.
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, 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 in need of homes too 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 for adoptions Monday - Saturday from 11am until 4:30pm and Sundays 11am until 3pm for visiting. If you plan to adopt, please bring along any current pet(s) proof of rabies vaccination and a cat carrier.
Spay and neuter services are by appointment only. Call 803-648-6863, ext 1 to schedule. Our Veterinary Care Center is open for full-service vet care by appointment Tuesday - Friday from 10am until 12pm and on a walk-in basis 1pm until 4pm and Saturdays 9am until 3pm. A list of services and prices can be found at www.LetLoveLive.org/vet-care.
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.