By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Another box load of kittens arrives at the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society, and staff members don’t know whether to coo or cringe.
Like all tiny felines, they’re fuzzy and cute. But they’re adding to a mounting crisis: The community’s lone animal shelter already has more than 110 kittens and must euthanize some unless it finds homes for all.
To boost adoptions, TLHS is offering a two-for-one cat special this month. The $45 fee includes a spay or neuter operation, microchip, round of vaccinations, rabies tag, deworming treatment and one month of pet insurance for both cats.
The deal is part of a national effort called Adopt-A-Cat Month.
“We’re overwhelmed,” said TLHS Director Debbie Hood on Tuesday. “It’s like this every year around this time. It’s the breeding season. The ones with the kittens turned in, the moms are probably already pregnant again.”
Although cats can breed year-round, the mating season typically peaks between March and May, said All-Animal Hospital veterinarian Kimberly Kelly. Female cats who haven’t been spayed go into heat every two to three weeks, she said. They can get pregnant about four times a year.
Spaying the females not only prevents pregnancies, “it also cuts down the risk of breast cancer and uterine infections,” Kelly said. “And it makes them happier pets because they’re not constantly in heat. It makes happier owners, too, because their cat isn’t prancing around the house screaming all night long.”
Kelly recommended neutering male cats, too.
Most of the kittens dropped off at the shelter came from families with unspayed pet cats or from people who found stray cats with kittens near their house.
They drop off the mewling broods in crates, boxes or baskets. Each kitten gets a name, number, health inspection, round of shots and a cage. They spend an average of two to six weeks at the shelter awaiting adoption.
But each new delivery forces shelter staff to make room. Some kittens go to foster families, others find homes through rescue agencies or at off-site adoption events. But when those avenues are exhausted, euthanasia becomes necessary.
TLHS offers low-cost spay and neuter operations at its off-site clinic. The procedures cost between $35 and $65.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
– People can adopt two cats for the price of one at the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society this month. For $45, both cats will be spayed or neutered, microchipped, vaccinated, dewormed, and will be given a rabies tag and one month of pet insurance. For details, contact TLHS at (662) 841-6500 or go online at www.tupelo-leehumane.org.