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It’s the month for adopting cats

by Linda Hiller

Complete this sentence: A house is not a home without a

How about “cat?” Each spring, thousands of animal shelters across the country end up with homeless adult cats and kittens due to the normal breeding patterns of this prolific species.

According to the American Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals, as many as 10 million dogs and cats are relinquished to shelters each year, and of those, up to 65 percent are destroyed because there aren’t enough homes.

To spotlight the need for adopting a “pound kitty,” the ASPCA sponsors June as “Adopt a Shelter Cat Month.”

Did you know:

– There are approximately 70 million cats (compared to 58 million dogs) living in United States households.

– There are 34 million cat owners in the U.S. (averaging 2.1 cats per home).

– A fertile female cat can produce three litters of kittens per year. If this cat and each of her offspring reproduce regularly, they may produce as many as 420,000 kittens over a 7-year period.

– Thirty-one percent of cat owners prominently display their cat’s picture in the house. Ten percent of cat owners carry a wallet photo of their kitty.

– Seventy percent of feline households allow their cats to sleep on a family member’s bed at night and 65 percent of feline households permit their cats to sleep on the furniture, while 45 percent of feline households provide special beds for their kitty.

– Fifty-eight percent of cat owners give their pets presents at Christmas. Seventy percent of feline households allow their cats to sleep on a family bed at night, 65 percent of feline households permit their cats to sleep on the furniture and 45 percent of feline households provide special beds for their kitty.

– In 1995, Americans spent $100 million on cat treats and $3.8 billion on cat food.

– Right in our back yard. The Douglas County Animal Control shelter in south Gardnerville has a smaller number of cats and kittens than the usual glut this time of year, according to Animal Control Officer, Janet Risko.

“Usually we’d be full by now,” she said. “I hope the lower number is because pet owners are being responsible, and spaying their cats. We do emphasize ‘Spay Month’ in February.”

Risko said the shelter currently has five cat cages and can hold no more than what will fit in there.

“Last summer, we had 27 kittens in those five cages, and we adopted them all out,” she said. “Right now we only have three kittens and two adult cats. There are several on the bulletin board here, though, that are also up for adoption.”

Adopting a female cat or kitten at the animal shelter runs $42, which includes the spay operation, health check and shots. Males can be adopted for $32, due to the fact that their neutering operation is less expensive.

Spaying and neutering costs vary for cats in the Carson Valley, according to Rhonda Fingar, shelter supervisor.

“There aren’t any organized low cost spay and neuter clinics here, so we’re referring everybody to Planned Pethood in Sparks,” she said. “They charge $25 to spay a female and $15 for a male. We’re working on getting something closer to home.”

Literature on cats and cat care is also available at the Douglas County shelter, open from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fingar said a low-cost rabies clinic will be offered on Saturday, June 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with all shots $7 for cats, dogs and ferrets.

To get to the shelter, go south on Highway 395 in Gardnerville, make a left at Pinenut Road, veer right on to Dump Road and the shelter is on the left at 921 Dump Road across from the Douglas County fairgrounds.

For more information, call 782-9061 for Douglas County, or for information on adopting a cat through the Mono County Animal control in Bridgeport, Calif., call (760) 932-7407 or (760) 932-5258.