Monday, August 4, 2014

The Nine Lives of a Shelter Cat

Answer honestly.

Do you love Humane Society Silicon Valley?  Are you that person who checks the available animals list daily, perusing the pages for newbies?  Have you ever noticed the abundance of cats and kittens available for adoption?  Ever wonder where all of our cats come from? 
 You are not alone!  

One of the most common questions we are asked here at HSSV is 

"Where did all you get all of these cats?!"  

Here's a quick shortlist of the nine lives of shelter cats:

9. The stray
Cats like Cersei are brought to us after losing their way.  Perhaps their owners have moved, leaving them behind.  Maybe they found a way out of the safety of their family's home.  Either way, if a cat is brought to us without an ID tag or microchip, the chances of finding their owners is slim.  Luckily, they have a spot here with us while they wait for a new home.

8. The surrender
Patches was an owner surrender.  In his case, his owners developed allergies and were unable to keep him.  There are many reasons why a pet will be surrendered, but the number one reason is the economy.  These days, even the best of pet owners may be forced to move out of their home and into a place that doesn't allow pets.  The good thing for you as adopters is that we will often have a thorough background on the cat's behavior in a home environment, so we can better prepare you for what to expect when you bring your new kitty home!

7. The litter of kittens
Kittens!  Kittens!  Kittens!  Litters of kittens start trickling through our doors every Spring, brought in by people who have found the babies living in their backyard, behind buildings or on their workplace campus.  Usually, if the kittens are very young, it is best to leave them be in the hopes that mama cat is close by searching for food.  But when they do end up coming through our doors, we do everything we can to get them ready for adoption.

6. The feral
Through our Trap-Neuter-Release (or TNR) program, we see many feral cats circling through our shelter.  Most of the time, feral cats are brought into our medical center to be spayed/neutered and microchipped before being released back to their outdoor homes.  But sometimes, being released is not an option for some kitties.  Luckily, we have space here at our shelter for them to become...

5. The garden cat
Feral or semi-feral cats that have nowhere to go have a space here in our Cat Garden where they live while waiting for a permanent gig as a working cat.  If an adopter is looking solely for an outdoor kitty to help with pest control in their barn, warehouse or garden, these kitties will make the perfect match!

4. The transfer in
Our Regional Rescue team at HSSV makes weekly visits to local shelters with the goal of helping create more space at crowded neighboring shelters, resulting in more adoptions!  Willow is just one of many transfer ins available for adoption here at HSSV.

3. The pet guardianship cat
In the event of an owner passing away, the Pet Guardianship Program allows beloved pets to find a new home through adoption at HSSV.  Such was the case for this cutie, Butterball.  Read more about the program here.

2. The mama cat
Cindy Pawford and her babies are just one example of a mama cat that was found with her babies in need of some TLC.  When the kittens are too young to be adopted, they will often be put in a foster home with their mother or be given a special room in our nursery before they are made available for adoption.  Luckily for Cindy, a good samaritan brought her and her babies to us to find them all homes -- Cindy's still looking!

1. The second-chance cat
Every single one of the kitties in our care have been given a second chance at life.  They each have had their own journey getting here and now that they have settled into shelter life, they are looking for a real home of their own.

If you are looking to adopt, think Shelters First!

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