Every year in the warmer months, animal shelters experience what they refer to as “kitten season.” In summer, the influx of cats and kittens that are brought into shelters enters the hundreds.
The Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter will host a Purry Paws Kitten Shower on Saturday, March 9, from 1-6 p.m. raise awareness about this overcrowding issue and to stock up on supplies.
There will be door prizes, fun masks, and cat-ear accessories for children, a food-and-supplies collection and refreshments from the Food City in Jonesborough. Plus, Cakebuds of Johnson City will provide cookies, cupcakes and a cake for the event.
Also, attendees who bring a 14-pound bag of Kitten Chow, Purina One or Iams kitten food will have their name entered to win a cat-themed gift basket.
“This kitten shower is about searching for people who would want to be foster parents and also trying to go ahead and stock up on kitten food and things like that so that we have it and we’re ready,” Tammy Davis, director of the animal shelter, said.
Last May and June, the shelter took in more than 800 cats and kittens. With such a high intake, space fills up very quickly. Since she became the director, Davis started a foster care program where individuals from the community can volunteer to take care of cats and kittens when the shelter is full.
While several people volunteered last year, Davis said that they could use more volunteers.
“Anyone can do it,” Davis said. “You do not need a lot of space. People typically will use like a spare bedroom or spare bathroom and you would just keep the kittens in a confined space and be able to go in and change the litter box things like that.”
She said the shelter is also looking for people who have experience bottle-feeding since sometimes fosters are needed for cats and a little of kittens or for kittens too young to be adopted out.
“Sometimes that can be the difference between life and death because space obviously is the biggest issue,” said Davis.
Davis also wants to take the opportunity to remind people that cat-owners can help reduce the number of stray cats that show up at the shelter by spaying and neutering their cats, especially if they spend most of their time outside.
To try and reduce that number, the shelter offered free spaying/neutering to the public and by the time all the procedures are finished, they will have taken care of about 300 cats and kittens. And while not currently doing that program at the moment, Davis encouraged anyone who has a pet and can’t afford to spay or neuter them to still contact the shelter because they may be able to help pet owners with the cost or help them in the future. According to Davis, the shelter took in almost 5,000 animals last year.
“That's the only way that we’re going to stop this influx of kittens is by spaying and neutering cats.”
The event will take place on Saturday from 1-6 p.m. This is not an adoption event, but it will be held at the animal shelter where there are pets who are up for adoption. For those who want to donate supplies, there is a wishlist for the shelter that includes dry food, kitten toys, nursing bottles, paper towels and more.
For more information on this event, call the shelter at 423-926-8769 or find them on Facebook.