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Meow! 

If you’ve ever thought about having a cat, June might be the month to pounce on the idea. Woods Humane Society is celebrating 58 years of service by participating in National Shelter Adopt a Cat Month, and prospective adopters are invited to “name your own price” to adopt a cat older than six months. By the time they’re in the cattery vying for your attention and affection, cats are already spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped, making the cost of adoption very worthwhile, said Steve Kragenbrink, Woods’ community programs director.

click to enlarge FELINE FINE:  Smokey the Cat is among a few dozen Woods Humane Society felines that would love to warm your lap and heart. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • FELINE FINE: Smokey the Cat is among a few dozen Woods Humane Society felines that would love to warm your lap and heart.

“We have a pretty consistent issue of feline overpopulation in our community,” Kragenbrink said. “One of the reasons we celebrate National Adopt a Cat Month is to bring attention to the plight of these cats sitting in the shelters.”

The adoption of one cat, Kragenbrink said, helps three cats at once. When one cat leaves, the departure creates a space for another cat to be moved from the holding program, which in turn creates a space to bring in another cat from a shelter or Animal Services.

Generally the fee to adopt a cat is $115 for an adult or $160 for a kitten—money that helps supplement the cost of getting the cats fixed and vaccinated. But with this month’s “name your own price” program, it’s up to you, with people choosing to pay $55 on average. Once the human-feline bond is created, however, the thought of monetary value quickly fades.

“You’re looking at an animal that is going to be taking care of you for possibly 20 years,” Kragenbrink said, claiming it’s really not you who’s adopting the cat, it’s the cat that’s adopting you. There’s more. Kragenbrink points to studies that have proven that cats help to lower blood pressure; reduce stress, anxiety, and loneliness; improve moods; and ease depression, so adopting may help a human catapult into happiness.

The average adoption rate at the shelter is around 20 cats per month, and it spikes in June—last year 160 cats were adopted during Adopt a Cat Month. Woods Humane Society’s free-ranging, outdoor-indoor cattery has 45 cats at a time, making a perfect match quite possible. If you need assistance, there’s a Meet Your Match Feline-ality Adoption Program, where filling out a simple one-page survey can help assessors find the right friend for you.

Part of the idea behind encouraging the adoption of cats six months old or older is because kittens often get all the attention. That’s further complicated now because kittens are especially prolific in the shelter this time of year.

“We are sitting right at the beginning of kitten season. People think I’m crazy when I say that, but there are certain times of the year when we’ll be inundated with kittens,” Kragenbrink said. Older cats, which have usually been at the shelter longer and in a way are more in need of an adopting companion, can often get overlooked.

“I tell people to pause a moment and look at the other cats,” Kragenbrink said, describing a common response when he sees people demonstrate a kitten bias. At the end of the day, however, kitten or not, an adoption is an adoption, and everyone benefits.

“If you can’t adopt a cat, tell somebody that can,” Kragenbrink said.

After all, they might allow for visiting hours.

Woods Humane Society is at 875 Oklahoma Ave., off Highway 1 just outside SLO. Current hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (though it stays open until 7 p.m. on Wednesdays), and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Starting July 1, it will be open every day from noon until 6 p.m.
For more information, check out woodshumanesociety.org.

Fast fact

The Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero is holding a WILD Summer Camp for kids beginning June 10. The camp offers kids between preschool and 12 years of age the opportunity to learn about and interact with animals. The camp costs $71.50 to $151.50, depending on age group. For more information, contact Kate Capela at 461-5080 or visit charlespaddockzoo.org.

Intern Jono Kinkade compiled this week’s Strokes. Send your business and nonprofit news to strokes@newtimesslo.com.

-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay

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