VIDEO

Flood of surrendered cats has Humane Society scrambling to find homes

Posted Aug. 18, 2011, at 1:22 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 19, 2011, at 1:02 p.m.
Stacey Coventry, spokeswoman for the Bangor Humane Society, holds Pete, one of the over 250 cats currently being cared for at the shelter and in foster homes, on Thursday, July 18, 2011. Earlier this week, over 50 felines were surrendered to the Humane Society in less than 48 hours.
Stacey Coventry, spokeswoman for the Bangor Humane Society, holds Pete, one of the over 250 cats currently being cared for at the shelter and in foster homes, on Thursday, July 18, 2011. Earlier this week, over 50 felines were surrendered to the Humane Society in less than 48 hours.
A litter of 8-week-old kittens are among more than 250 cats currently in the care of the Bangor Humane Society. Earlier in the week, more than 50 felines were surrended to the shelter. In order to encourage adoption, the Humane Society is offering a "name-your-price adoption fee" for cats older than 6 months.
A litter of 8-week-old kittens are among more than 250 cats currently in the care of the Bangor Humane Society. Earlier in the week, more than 50 felines were surrended to the shelter. In order to encourage adoption, the Humane Society is offering a "name-your-price adoption fee" for cats older than 6 months.

BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Humane Society is inundated with cats. In less than 48 hours Monday and Tuesday, pet owners surrendered more than 50 cats to the shelter, which now has 250 cats in its care and is begging the public to take animals out of the building.

The shelter has more than 85 adult cats and 53 kittens in the building, with more than 100 more in foster homes but still under Humane Society care, according to Stacey Coventry, Humane Society spokeswoman.

To ease the strain, the shelter is offering a “name your adoption fee” for cats 6 months and older. Potential owners can adopt a cat for a minimum donation of $10. Cats younger than 6 months are still available for the regular $100 adoption fee.

Coventry said the $10 adoptions are intended to help some of the shelter’s older cats find a home. Kittens tend to be adopted more frequently, she said.

The shelter will accept donations larger than $10. “We’re hoping people will be as generous as they can,” Coventry said.

“We hope people will open their hearts and homes and pocketbooks and try adoption,” Coventry said.

Coventry said summer is always a busy time of year for the Humane Society because many cats have litters at this time of year. Cats can have multiple pregnancies in a year — as many as four — with four to six kittens per litter on average.

A kitten can get pregnant at just 4 months old.

“The problem grows exponentially,” Coventry said.

Several factors have caused the current overcrowding, according to Coventry. In tough economic times, cat owners can’t afford to get their pets spayed or neutered. Gestation periods of just 57 to 69 days mean cats can breed litters quickly.

The tough economy also means people can’t afford to feed or care for their cats, and have little choice but to turn them over to the Humane Society.

The last time the shelter saw a spike in its population this drastic, half the cats in the building got sick because of overcrowding and stress. The Humane Society is worried that this might happen again if the shelter can’t find homes for the cats soon.

On Thursday, the Humane Society had just six open cat kennels.

The shelter hopes the pressure will be alleviated this week. On Wednesday, the first day of the $10-adoption program, 17 cats were adopted. The hope is that more will find owners in the coming days.

All cats are spayed and neutered before or soon after adoption, Coventry said.

The Humane Society, 693 Mount Hope Ave., is open noon-6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays.

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