Continuing on with the updates on cat-related days, April 30 is Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. I think every day should be adopt a shelter pet day as there are still so many animals in shelters who are desperate for a loving home of their own. But, personal views aside, adopt a shelter pet day creates awareness for the plight of shelter animals and opens up the opportunity to discuss this important issue and what we can do to help.
As the saying goes, ‘Adopt, Don’t shop’, which highlights the importance of adopting a shelter pet over buying an animal from a pet shop, which can often be an outlet for puppy and kitten mills. If you are in the market for another pet, please consider a shelter cat. By doing so, you free up space for another homeless animal and you change the life of the pet you adopt.
How to help:
Obviously, not everybody can adopt a pet, due to time, space, finances, or already being at capacity. Other ways animal lovers can help homeless cats include:
Desex household pets:
The fact is, there are more domestic animals than there are homes, and it is up to all of us to do our part by not contributing by allowing our pets to breed.
There’s so much work involved in running a shelter and a finite number of people willing to help. Can you spare a few hours a week? It’s not all hard work, shelters need help socialising kittens and puppies (who doesn’t want to spend time playing with baby animals), feeding, grooming, dog walking. It all helps. Get children involved, it teaches them the importance (and joy) of volunteering and helping the community. Win/win.
Donate money to an animal shelter:
Not everybody has the time to help at an animal shelter but we can still help by donating money or products (litter, food, leads, medications).
Donate a skill:
Do you have a skill a shelter could use? Website design, social media, photography, marketing, carpentry? This can help to free up shelter staff so that they can focus on the animals. It can also help you to build skills and experience while helping animals in need.
Hold a cake stall or a raffle. Many locals in my town regularly hold fundraisers to help the local shelter. Locals are asked to donate baked goods, and volunteers hold a cake stall in the main street.
We already know that most shelters are at capacity and fostering can get an animal out of a shelter and into a temporary home. Shelters are stressful places and opening up our home can offer a homeless animal some relief from the noisy, and confined space in a shelter.
Microchip your pet:
In the unfortunate event that your pet manages to escape or becomes lost, a microchip is the most effective method to reunite your pet with you. But, a microchip is only effective if your details are kept up to date. It is unfortunate that many microchipped pets still find themselves in a shelter because the animal’s microchip details are outdated and the family cannot be contacted.
Share on social media:
Follow rescue group pages and share calls to action. Pets in need of a foster or permanent home, shelters that need donations, volunteers or goods.
Don’t support pet shops who sell pets:
Don’t buy pets from pet shops. This just lines the pockets of kitten and puppy mills. There is one exception, some pet shops are opening up space for shelter animals, which gives extra exposure to shelter cats. If you do see pets for sale in a pet shop, find out where they come from. There should be signage stating if a pet shop is selling animals for an animal shelter. If they can’t provide this information, go elsewhere.