A glut of kittens and cats at the Toledo Area Humane Society this spring has prompted the shelter to reduce its adoption fees for the felines to just $5 on Fridays until June 29.
The flood of cats and kittens has filled up limited space at the shelter, according John Dinon, executive director of the Humane Society.
“We’re currently taking in over 100 cats and kittens each week and we have over 150 kittens currently in foster homes waiting until their old enough to go up for adoption. We only have limited space available, so the more animals we can find homes for, the more animals we can help,” said Dinon.
The “$5 Fridays” promotion is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Friday. The shelter hopes that those who will adopt at the deeply discounted rate to consider donations in addition to the adoption fees to help cover costs at the shelter, though it is not required. All the animals at the shelter are spayed or neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and get physical exams by on-staff veterinarians.
“We want to be able to take in and re-home as many animals as possible, so we’re hoping by reducing cat and kitten adoption fees with `$5 Fridays’ we will be able to quickly find homes for many of them,” said Dinon. “The more cats and kittens that get adopted, the more space we will have available to help more cats and kittens coming to the Humane Society each day.”
Dinon told The Press that he attributes the high number of cats and kittens at the shelter to the mild winter.
“We are seeing more kittens than usual this spring. I believe it is because the winter was so mild so the free roaming cats are coming into breeding season in better condition,” said Dinon.
He said that the shelter had a promotion of low adoption fees last year. Adoption fees for the “Name your own price” promotion last July 16 and 17 started at $5 for cats and dogs that had been at the shelter for 60 days or longer.
“Five dollars is a very deep discount. We will lose money, but save lives with this promotion,” said Dinon.
For years, rescue groups and others involved in the adoption of homeless pets have cautioned against low adoption fees out of concern that the pets will not be cared for properly by the new owners. But Dinon said that is not the case.
“The conventional wisdom for years was if fees are too low or a shelter does `no fee’ adoptions, people won’t value the animals. Recent research has indicated that this is not the case if you have a thorough adoption application and screening process, like ours. Cleveland APL has done some good work on this. They did a “$5 foot long” cat promotion, did a record number of adoptions and follow up showed no difference between a reduced fee and regular adoptions and no higher rate of adoption returns,” said Dinon.
The shelter does euthanize adoptable cats when there is no room in the summer, he said.
“Because we are open admission, we sometimes get more cats than we can adopt. We usually do have to euthanize adoptable cats due to lack of space during the summer when we are getting so many turned in. Our goal this year is to not euthanize any adoptable kittens, which is part of the reason we are doing aggressive promotions like `$5 Fridays.’ We are able to adopt out all the adoptable dogs we get. It’s only cats where the supply is so much larger than the demand. We adopt out about the same number of cats and dogs each year, but intake more cats. Lucas County has dog licensing and a dog warden, so not much of a stray dog problem. There is a Toledo City cat ordinance, but it is not enforced – there are lots of free roaming cats in Toledo and Lucas County. The only ones dealing with the cat overpopulation are the non-profit animal groups. Although we work hard to educate people about being responsible pet owners, people are not as responsible with cats as they are with dogs. Once an animal is up for adoption, we are committed to finding that animal a home – that is, there are no time limits. The only reason that an animal that is already up for adoption here would be euthanized would be if it developed serious behavioral or medical problems that made it unadoptable, a situation which very rarely happens. When we are forced to euthanize, it is before the cat ever makes it to the adoption floor,” said Dinon.