Mew! Meow! Meooooow. That's the first sound I hear when stepping into the SPCA Albrecht Center's lobby each morning. I like to think their morning mews are their way of saying, "Hello! Welcome back! So happy to see you again!" But more likely, they're just hungry, ready for a litter box change and perhaps craving some attention.
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 55 cats and kittens on our adoption floor and 40 more in holding waiting for a spot up front, all awaiting their chance at a forever home.
Some are adult cats who were strays or surrendered by their owners. Lots of them are kittens who were picked up by City of Aiken Animal Control officers, brought in by citizens, or born here in our care. 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. There are plenty more shelters and rescues in 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, 860,000 cats that enter shelters each year, are euthanized.* There simply are not enough adopters stepping forward to match the daily feline influx. That sad reality is especially heartbreaking if you're a cat-lover like me, and you know that each one has his or her own unique personality and special, loving characteristics to offer. Not one is the same, and each one deserves better.
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 lifestyle. And right now, cat adoption fees are $0! Cats and kittens, $0 with an approved adoption application. No holds. Spay/neuter, up-to-date vaccinations and microchip included.
Also, microchip. If your cat gets lost, having her microchipped will greatly increase the odds of a happy reunion versus ending up in a crowded animal shelter. $25 for a lifetime of security is a very small price to pay.
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 affordable options or visit our website at spcavetcare.org/spayneuter. Cat neuters start at just $40 in our Veterinary Care Center, and can cost as little as $20 if you qualify for a City or County voucher.
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 spcavetcare.org/TNR to see how the program works. If you live outside of Aiken City Limits, call the Aiken County Animal Shelter at 803-642-1537 and ask about their free TNR program.
Not a cat person? That's okay! We have plenty of great dogs in need of homes too and our spay and neuter services extend to them as well, starting at just $70.
Visit us virtually at LetLoveLive.org to see photos of adoptable pets or 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 on a walk-in basis Tuesday - Friday 1pm until 4pm and Saturdays 9am until 3pm. A list of services and prices can be found at spcavetcare.org.
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's family includes three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady, who are all living happy, loved lives thanks to the efforts of the SPCA.