I love cats. Like seriously love cats. LOVE THEM. To the point where it’s the only thing some people know about me.
But there are too many cats in the world. There are too many cats in the shelters. Too many cats in my backyard. (I’m working on that last one.)
And definitely too. Many. Kittens.
Don’t get me wrong. Kittens make my heart melt. They’re adorable and funny and sweet. They make a craptastic day better. The rescue organization I volunteer with, Rescue Angels of Southern Maryland, has found loving homes for dozens of kittens this summer, and we’ve got many more still looking for homes. Ask any rescue or shelter volunteer; their story will be the same.
But there are just too many kittens out there. So many, in fact, that at kill shelters, kittens are put down because there isn’t enough space for all of them. Shelters that aren’t staffed 24/7 have to put down underage kittens who need round-the-clock care and feeding. They just don’t have the staff to care for these “bottle babies,” and if a rescue group can’t take them in, they’re put down.
And we haven’t even talked about adult cats yet. Adult cat adoptions drop this time of year – and it’s already hard enough for adult cats to get adopted. (Don’t get me started on senior cats; they have the worst luck of all.)
When kill shelters get full, perfectly healthy adult cats are put down to make space for kittens, which are seen as more adoptable and desired by the public.
So here’s my plea this week: If you’re looking for a new feline companion, don’t forget adult cats. They’re just as cute as kittens (just look at my two foster cats, above, if you don’t believe me!), and they’re over some of those pesky kitten behaviors. A rescue group can tell you a lot about its adult cats’ personalities, likes, and dislikes. By adulthood, their personalities are set.
And adult cats are playful! We had a cat who played and ran around the house like a lunatic when he was 14. (Also, he was adorable.)
Adult cats are better able to handle the time alone while you’re at work, and they’ll get into less trouble while you’re gone. Adult cats can be calmer and more patient, which is good if you’ve got little kids who can’t resist kitty. (Be sure to mention your kids when you talk to shelter staff so they can introduce you to appropriate cats.)
And, let’s not forget: All kittens eventually become adult cats. That cute kitten phase we all love? It doesn’t last long. By six months or so, your kitten looks like a cat. A little cat, but still a cat.
Here’s my second plea: If you have a cat – or adopt one – please please please have it spayed or neutered. Kittens are adorable, but the fewer of them there are, the better.