Animal welfare organizations saturate the world with the message of spaying and neutering, yet every spring, shelter cages swell with cats and kittens.

By mid-June, the weekly intake far exceeds the number adopted, and on Monday, it starts all over again. People bring in orphaned kittens they’ve found, pregnant cats, or cats and their newborns, so the intake is not one at a time as it usually is throughout the year, but a half dozen at a time. Shelters that are hit harder than others begin calling other shelters to see if they can take some off their hands, but more often than not, they are filled to capacity, too.

Although the ACSPCA does not euthanize for space, the sad truth is that some shelters will euthanize cats and kittens for lack of space. The felines are perfectly cute, healthy, loving, and full of personality. Their only crime: being born.

I know I might sound like a broken record because my column has become part of the saturation effort: Please spay and neuter your cats, and please adopt, don’t shop.

For the first point on the importance of neutering and spaying: Even if you don’t consider the cat yours, if he or she hangs out at your house, please consider taking advantage of the Adams County SPCA’s Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) program. If the cat hanging around your house already has a tipped ear, that’s great. It’s the universal sign that the cat has already been fixed. If not, consider borrowing a humane trap from the ACSPCA and bringing the cat in for low cost neutering and spaying. It is only $5 to rent the trap for a week, and $30 to spay or neuter the cat. The TNR program also includes a rabies vaccine. Can you spend $35 to contribute to your community by keeping stray and feral cats and kittens off the streets? TNR means the cats living in the wild will live out their natural lives without bringing more unwanted kittens into the world.

Also, please neuter and spay your own cats, even if you keep them indoors only, which you really should do. Fixing your cats will reduce the likelihood of behavioral problems and is better for their health. The ACSPCA offers low-cost spaying, $75, and neutering, $50, as well as many other low-cost veterinary services.

As for my point of adopting instead of shopping: Why spend hundreds, even thousands, on a purebred kitten in a pet shop or through an ad when there are perfectly adorable kittens put to death nationwide because there are no homes for them?

Finally, please make a plan to visit the cats and kittens at the ACSPCA this season, and fill your world with their unconditional love!

Cheryl Sobun is a volunteer writer at the ACSPCA.

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