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Humane Society of Kandiyohi County offers major discount adoptions to deal with overpopulation in felines

If that cute face doesn't do it, maybe the sale price will. The Humane Society of Kandiyohi County, up to its whiskers in homeless cats and kittens, is offering discounted adoption fees this month in hopes it'll spur more cat adoptions, especially among the adult cats.

"We really are trying to get some of our older kitties placed. They're the ones no one looks at," said Bobbie Bauman, animal care director for the Humane Society shelter.

Any cat age 3 and older can be adopted for $33.33. That's less than half of the usual adoption fee, which starts at around $85. For cats under age 3, there's a 10 percent discount on the adoption fee.

The offer is good through July 4.

The shelter in Willmar is among many animal shelter and rescue groups working extra-hard this month to find homes for cats and kittens.

Shelter workers call this time of year "kitten season."

"You usually see it in late spring and early summer," Bauman said.

Warm weather brings outdoor cats who breed and produce kittens that often wind up in shelters, she said.

On Wednesday of last week, the Humane Society's cat colony was full. Additional cats were in the kitten room, the isolation area and the transition room.

Fifteen kittens also were being cared for in foster homes, Bauman said.

Cassie Robinson and Roxanne Otterness of the kennel staff had their hands full as they dished out kibble, poured fresh water and rounded up a dozen cats for their noon feeding.

Compared to other years, the kitten season so far has been relatively manageable, said Tari Evenson, shelter manager.

"We were just getting kittens last year left and right," she said. "We had everything full and we had 25 or 30 of them out in foster care."

But a cool spring might have delayed this year's influx, and Bauman said she's braced for the shelter to be at feline capacity for the rest of the summer.

"We've had calls," she said. "We try and get as many into foster care as we can."

There've also been a number of cats who have been surrendered by their owners to the Humane Society of Kandiyohi County. Of the 161 cats and kittens that have come through the shelter doors since Jan. 1, 60 were surrendered. Most were adult cats.

When the shelter fills up with dogs, staff can usually call on other shelters, sometimes as far away as the Twin Cities, to take some of the overflow, Bauman said. But that's not an option when there are too many cats.

"Cats are harder to move out to other shelters because they're in the same boat as we are with the numbers," Bauman said.

Although cats outnumber dogs as companion animals in the U.S., they don't always receive the same treatment as dogs. Cats are more likely to be allowed to roam unsupervised, and they're more likely than dogs to be seen as disposable, Bauman said.

"Cats don't have the same status as dogs," she said.

The Humane Society hopes the discounted adoption fee will be an incentive for more cat adoptions this month. The organization also is trying to spread the word through flyers and bulletin boards, and it's pushing the spay-neuter message as well.

Donations to the Humane Society are currently down, which means the organization has had to stretch its operating budget to handle the increase in cats.

"If anybody could send some money, that would be great," Bauman said.

A new shelter is expected to help ease the space crunch. Construction on the $500,000 facility started earlier this month.

It'll make it possible for the Humane Society to house more animals and better accommodate the peaks in volume, Evenson said. "We're hoping to have more kennels."

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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