So what does that mean for the Morristown Hamblen Humane Society? And more importantly what does it mean for us as a Community?
Spring time means cat and kitten season for animals shelters in Tennessee. A time everyone involved in a Shelter setting dreads because of cat over population.
The Morristown Hamblen Humane society takes in hundreds of cats and kittens during the Spring season. From January 2016 thru December 2016 Morristown Hamblen Humane Society took in 737 kittens and 462 cats, a total of 1173. Unfortunately, only 313 were adopted.
Cat season is a very stressful time for the employees at the shelter because of the number of cats and kittens that come in, some of which we cannot find homes for. The shelter can only house about 40 cats at a time and adoptions for cats are much lower and slower than for the dogs. The average stay for a dog at the shelter is 10 to 14 days before it is adopted. The average stay for a cat is 20 to 30 days.
It is hard for us to be enthusiastic about receiving “yet another” batch of cats and kittens. If we show our lack of enthusiasm, please forgive us, we have received as many as 32 kittens in one day, all of them uncared for and sick. It takes a toll on all of us.
As the statistics show it is impossible for us to house and find homes for all the cats that are dropped off at the shelter. Many people come in during kitten season and ONLY want the cute, cuddly kittens. The older ones are overlooked. Sometimes when the kittens display typical kitten behavior or they no longer look cute anymore, they come back. That just adds to our problem.
Citizens want to say that shelters kill just because they don’t want to care for the cats, when the shelter simply can’t find homes or house hundreds of cats. Many of us that work here at the Shelter, have cats. We are cat people, we love our cats no matter what, we love every cat that comes through the door – so having to euthanize so many cats and kittens takes a toll on all of us here at the shelter, there are lots of tears shed during this time of year. It is made more difficult because we know there is a solution to the problem if only people would spay and neuter.
Several citizens in Hamblen County feed stray cats, and love the stray cats, but fail to get them spayed or neutered which results in the cats breeding. Soon there are more cats than the citizen can afford to take care of and they bring them to the shelter and expect the shelter to find them homes and provide medical care. As these cats are strays, sometimes they are sick and unadoptable.
During this time of year animal control receives hundreds of complaints from aggravated citizens complaining about their neighbors who have cats and are letting them run all over the neighborhood, defecating in flower beds, walking on vehicles and urinating on porches. These citizens will trap the cats and bring them to the shelter, 90% of these cats are unaltered and are never claimed.
How do we fix the problem? Spay and neuter and educate the public.
The law in Hamblen County states that if you feed and care for an animal for more than three days it is your animal and your responsibility. If you want to have a pet, then do the responsible thing and have that animal altered. If you want to feed stray cats that’s great but have the cats altered. If you cannot afford to alter the cat, bring the cat to the shelter don’t let the cat multiply, the shelter has a much higher chance of getting the one cat a home then 10 cats after it breeds.
The Humane Society is working on getting low cost spay neuter programs for citizens on low income but the demand for low cost spay neuter is much higher than the funding available. Citizens must take responsibility for their actions and not allow the over population of cats to continue.
The above statements are not just limited to cats. 70% of what comes in, dogs and cats are unaltered males.
Please remember to check the shelter if you lose an animal. We can take your information, post it on Facebook and hopefully reunite you with your pet!