Shelter looks for homes for cats

Published 9:59 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2019

At least two things are consistent about summers in Suffolk — it’s hot, and there’s an abundance of cats needing homes.

Laurie Brittle, the manager of Suffolk Animal Care Center, said their influx of cats and kittens is typical for June, July and August, and is a problem shared by many animal shelters in Hampton Roads.

“Summer time is our busier time,” Brittle said. “It’s kitten season. We, like all the other shelters, are impacted by that.”

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The cats that come in aren’t all young. Brittle said the center will get cats ranging from those just born to mature cats more than 10 years old. The center receives anywhere from 150 to 200 cats during each of the summer months, which is about double the amount they get for each month during the rest of the year.

“It happens every year,” Brittle said. “We know it’s coming. When the weather gets warm, it’s just when the cats are breeding. Sometimes it hits a little earlier, sometimes a little later.”

She said when they are at full capacity, they will reach out to other animal shelters in Hampton Roads.

“We reach out to other shelters,” Brittle said. “I’m constantly in contact with them. … And they do help out a lot. (But) everybody, this time of year, is in the same situation.”

Suffolk Animal Care is also part of the nationwide pet adoption initiative, Clear the Shelters, which takes place through Aug. 17. It also posts regularly on its Facebook page about any strays or adoption events, which are held monthly at local PetSmart locations. It also takes part in the Hampton Roads Show’s Pet Pal segment that features adoptable pets and advertises its adoption facility.

The facility will also work with other shelters in a number of special events throughout the year to promote adoptions and educate the public on homeless animal awareness. Brittle said it also continues to look for people to provide foster care for cats, which helps free up space at the shelter to allow it to take in more pets as needed.

The cats that come into the shelter are generally because someone gave them up, or they come in as strays, she said.

“They come in at all ages,” Brittle said. It’s not just kittens. …  Somebody brought in three and they are all over 10 years old.”

She said people can get overwhelmed with the number of kittens when they do not have their cats spayed or neutered, which she advises should happen before the summer breeding season.

“They don’t realize when you don’t spay and neuter your cats how quickly they reproduce,” Brittle said.

For those interested in adopting a cat, she asks that people come by the shelter at 124 Forest Glen Drive and visit with as many as they would like. She said they should also take into consideration whether there are any other pets in the home and the family’s ability to care for a cat. It costs $75 to adopt a cat, which includes their vaccines and their spaying or neutering.

While the shelter does have an extra supply of cats available for adoption, it will take most any animal in — dogs, of course, but also rats, snakes, guinea pigs, rabbits and more.

“We’re an open admission shelter, so anything that is homeless in the city of Suffolk, this is where it comes. We don’t turn anything away,” Brittle said. “It doesn’t matter how healthy it is or how friendly it is.”