POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Shelters across Eastern Idaho are running out of room for cats.
“We are overflowing in a big, big way,” said Shaila McGuire, Pocatello Animal Shelter's volunteer coordinator.
In Pocatello, for every three or four cats that are adopted, seven more take their place, according to the shelter. They've had to turn away cats found outside of city limits, whereas they're usually accommodating.
In fact, the shelter has more than 50 recently born kittens, even though the number of kittens usually drops in Autumn.
“Normally it kind of slows down around this time of year, but it has just been go, go, go. I know everybody all around--PAWS (Pocatello Animal Welfare Society), the (Bannock) humane society--everywhere has just been full,” McGuire said.
That's why the Pocatello and Idaho Falls animal shelters are offering free adoption for all cats and kittens.
Now through Nov. 16, Best Friends Animal Society will cover the cost of cat and kitten adoptions from the Pocatello Animal Shelter and the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter, according to a press release. Adoption includes vaccinations, licensing, collar, spay or neuter surgery and a microchip for permanent identification.
“Both locally and regionally, shelters have reported much higher than normal intake, especially of kittens, whose numbers usually diminish substantially in the fall,” said Temma Martin with Best Friends Animal Society. “With so many cats and kittens still needing homes, many shelters are struggling to find space.”
But east Idaho's cat problem doesn't end there.
“There’s a lot of people who have feral cats in their neighborhoods, and they’re a big problem," said Jo Lynn Anderson, the founder and director of PAWS.
To combat the issue, community members, such as Jeannie Peña, are stepping up.
Peña has been constructing cat shelters to keep the strays warm during the winter.
PAWS can help people with stray cat colonies spay and neuter them to keep the feral cat population under control. To find out more about the PAWS affordable spay and neuter vouchers, call 208-406-3904.
“We’re at Petco from 1 (p.m.) to 2 (p.m.) every Saturday, and we’ll be glad to talk with you. We have loaner kennels, and sometimes we have traps if they’re not all loaned out,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the organization can also help with supplies for the cats, such as warm water bowls, cat shelters and food.
To bring down the cat population, the Pocatello Animal Shelter is applying for a grant that would help with costs to trap, neuter and release the stray cats.
Spaying and neutering animals, both stray and household, is the best way to keep overcrowding problems at bay, according to McGuire.
In the meantime, the shelter is focusing on finding forever homes for the many cats up for adoption. Those cats can be seen here.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to come out of this two weeks from now and say ‘Hey, we cleared the shelter,’ and that would be just a wonderful feeling,” McGuire said.