BURLINGTON, Ky. - Cats! Cats! More cats! The Boone County Animal Shelter is wondering where it will find room to put the next litter of cats that get dropped off at its front door or found as strays by Boone County residents.
The shelter's cat room is full, even with the addition of the extra cages that have been recently brought in. The facility has also set up cat cages in the foyer of the shelter. Those cages are full, too.
Shelter officials say their cat problem has been escalating for years now. Regularly, there isn't enough room to house all the cats that are in need of temporary shelter until someone or a family is able to adopt them.
The Boone County Animal Shelter is sheltering or finding temporary foster homes for as many as 80 cats at a time. Last week, in one instance, the shelter found itself with 15 new cats in its care after a mother cat and her entire litter were dropped off by a family that could not care for them.
Even volunteers say they've never seen so many cats at the shelter.
"I think it's sad because they don't have a home and most people come in and they see the cats and they don't want a really small one and we don't have too many of those," said Brianna Ravenscraft, a 9-year-old regular shelter volunteer.
The economy may be playing a role in why the Boone County Animal Shelter is seeing so many cats come through its doors.
"We believe the economy is having an effect on some middle class families' ability to afford to spay and neuter, as well as the cost of taking on a pet for a lifetime," said Boone County Animal Shelter Director Beckey Reiter.
The shelter has spent the last year working to reduce the need to utilize euthanasia (put cats to sleep) due to a lack of homes and adoptive families to take them in.
The Boone County shelter has created a foster cat care program that helps take some of the pressure off the shelter. It's also working on reaching out to Boone County and Northern Kentucky to get more individuals and families to consider adopting shelter cats.
Next week, the shelter will change its hours so that it will stay open later on Fridays and, for the first time in four years, be open on Saturdays. Officials hope the schedule changes will make it easier for people to stop by the shelter and see the cats and dogs that need to be adopted.
The shelter is also considering eliminating the adoption cost for older cats who have already been spayed or neutered as a special offer next week, along with $25 adoptions for other cats.
You can find out more about the Boone County Animal Shelter by visiting its Facebook page.
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