It's Kitten Season in Aiken, SC and the litters are just starting to arrive at the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare, on top of the 78 cats and kittens already there.
Some are adult cats who were strays or surrendered by their owners, but many are kittens who were found in the City of Aiken by Animal Control officers, brought in by citizens, or born in the shelter. Litters of one, two, five or more in shades of black, brown, white, orange, grey and everything in between and almost any combination you can imagine.
And the SPCA is just one shelter. The same situation exists in shelters throughout South Carolina, Georgia and all across the country. The numbers add up to approximately 3.2 million cats entering shelters nationwide each year.
Some of them are returned to their owners and many of them are adopted. But sadly, up to 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! The SPCA has all the mews you can use with kittens, adult cats, short haired, long haired, in any color to please your eye and any temperament to match your personality. Most feline adoption fees are just $75 and include spay or neuter surgery, up-to-date vaccinations and a microchip.
You can also help with the care of the many kittens arriving by donating to the SPCA's third annual Kitten Shower and Supply Drive. A wish list of supplies is available at LetLoveLive.org/kittenshower. Gifts of supplies can be shipped directly to the SPCA, dropped in the kitty play pen in the lobby or brought to the Kitten Shower on May 6th from 11:00am - 2:00pm. There will be shower snacks and sweet, cuddly kittens to snuggle!
Want to be an even bigger hero? Consider adopting a long-term resident, a senior cat, or an FIV+ 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 cat, 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 the SPCA Veterinary Care Center for information and affordable options or visit 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, vaccinated, ear-tipped and returned to the outdoor location where they were found. Call the number above or visit www.LetLoveLive.org/TNR to see how the program works.
Visit the SPCA Albrecht Center virtually at www.LetLoveLive.org to see photos of adoptable cats and dogs. Meet the pets in person at 199 Willow Run Road, Aiken SC. The shelter is open for adoptions Monday - Saturday from 11:00am until 4:30pm and for visiting only on Sundays 11:00am until 3:00pm.
Spay and neuter services are by appointment only. Call 803-648-6863, ext 1 to schedule. The Veterinary Care Center is open for a full range of services Tuesday - Friday from 10am until noon by appointment or 1:00pm - 4:00pm on a walk-in basis and Saturdays from 9am until 3pm. A list of services and prices can be found at www.LetLoveLive.org/vetcare.
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 family which includes three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady, who are all living happy, loved lives thanks to the efforts of the SPCA.