Updated: Monday, 14 Jun 2010, 2:12 PM CDT
Published : Saturday, 12 Jun 2010, 10:18 PM CDT
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXANO - Take a walk through Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter - or shelters in Travis and other area counties - and you will be met with many meows.
"It's been just barely hanging on by our teeth having two to three cages open," said Madelen Powell, kennel manager.
Kittens on up to adult cats are sharing cages as overcrowding becomes a looming threat - not just in Williamson County, but across the area.
And with national Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat month going through June, area shelters are stepping up their efforts - particularly because right now is "kitten season," when cats that haven't been fixed are giving birth to litters, many of which end up in the shelters.
At the Town Lake Animal Center, surrenders of cats and kittens shot up after the Austin City Council put into place a moratorium on putting animals down while there are empty cages - mainly, volunteers and staff said, because owners misunderstood the new ordinance and assumed the shelter was "no kill."
It isn't. As a result, felines are being euthanized every week.
According to Austin Pets Alive!, kitten season began in March - and in the first three months, 2,700 kittens and cats have arrived at Town Lake Animal Center, a 50% increase from last year.
By law, TLAC holds strays for 72 hours for their owners to find them. But animals turned in by their owners do not get that hold period. TLAC is so full that many wonderful cats, surrendered by their owners, are being immediately killed because they have no room, APA officials said.
In two weeks, the Town Lake shelter is holding a third annual "KittyPalooza" adoption event to encourage the adoption and fostering of some of the cats and kittens that have been coming in.
"Some fantastic cats will put on highly amusing shows on multiple stages," the event press release reads. "From old favorites like Simon & Purrbunkle, the Steve Litter Band and The Yowling Stones to some of the hottest new artists like The Black Stripes, Nellie Purrtado, and 9 Inch Tails, these talented felines are sure to put a song in your heart, and unlike most festivals, the shelter will make it easy to take your favorite artist or artists home with you!"
Similar to Town Lake, the shelter in Williamson County is reaching a critical mass of cats and kittens as well.
"Right now, we are basically running out of room, and so we haven't euthanized any kittens yet, but we are getting really close," said Brendan Segraves, a volunteer.
Almost 400 kittens and cats now call the shelter home, meaning it's running out of more than just space. Many older animals are victims of the economy, as their owners could no longer provide for them. The kittens, however, are most likely there because owners are not spaying or neutering their cats.
"We are going through two to three cans of kitten food, soft food a day," Powell explained.
Volunteers even held a kitten baby shower this afternoon, asking the public for monetary donations as well as cat litter and cat food, to help them keep the animals.
It also gave them a chance to advertise the animals, giving them yet another chance to be adopted.
"The only thing we can really look for to help prevent having to euthanize any of our cats or kittens is for people to either come in and adopt a cat or to help foster a cat for a couple weeks," Segraves added.
Segraves and Powell said they are begging the community for help to avoid any unnecessary kills.
Those unable to adopt are being asked to help relieve already stressed volunteers .
Those who can't give time, money or supplies are being asked to be proactive with pets.
"If people have stray cats in their neighborhood or in their backyard, if they can trap them, neuter them and release them, that will help relieve a lot of cats and the kittens we have right now," Segraves explained.
At the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter feral cats are spayed or neutered for free.
Adopting a grown cat will cost you $25, a kitten $50.
Included in that price are ear mite treatments, micro-chipping, de-worming and spaying or neutering.
Items needed for pets, including dogs, include:
* Pet toys that are safe and washable(KongToys, NylaBones)
* Tennis balls
* Cat treats and toys
* Cat litter
* Canned cat and kitten food
* Towels, bath mats and blankets, flannel baby blankets for cats and kittens
* Kitten Milk Replacement (KMR) unopened
* Plastic soda and water bottles
* Cat beds
* Paper bags
* Picnic table or patio table and chairs
* Hand sanitizer
* Scratch & Stretch Cat Exercisers
* Empty Medication Bottles
* DAWN diswashing detergent
* Stainless Steel bowls (all sizes)
To find out how and where to donate, click here .
To find out more information on volunteering, adoption or becoming a foster pet parent, contact the shelter at:
1855 S.E. Inner Loop
Georgetown, TX 78626