June boom in kittens fills up Calgary Humane Society shelter

The Calgary Humane Society is having an emergency adoption event in order to help an unusually large number of cats find 'forever homes' with Calgarians.

'This year, we've just seen a bit of a perfect storm'

The Calgary Humane Society is offering a Choose Your Own Adoption Fee promotion to help find 'forever homes' for an unusually large number of cats and kittens. The promotion lasts until Sunday. (Calgary Humane Society)

The Calgary Humane Society needs to find forever homes for a few good cats.

Make that quite a few cats.

That's because June produced a perfect cat storm over Calgary, resulting in a surplus of felines needing new homes at the Calgary animal shelter, said spokesperson Sage Pullen McIntosh in a Tuesday interview with The Homestretch.

"It is something we will see at this time of year. We typically enter into what we call 'kitten season' in early spring, when cats who are not fixed go outside and get pregnant and return home — and that's when their owners will bring in kittens, or cats. So we will see quite a few [needing new homes]," said Pullen McIntosh.

"Plus, during the month of June, we will see an increase in surrender. That's usually a busy moving month for people. Sometimes they're relocating for business, or moving to a new community, and they're not able to take their pet with them."

The Calgary Humane Society has an unusually large number of cats and kittens available for adoption. (Calgary Humane Society)

"So we will see an increase in that. And this year, we've just seen a bit of a perfect storm, with those two things coming together. We've seen more cats and kittens than usual."

June boom produces a bumper crop

And while the annual June boom in felines is somewhat foreseeable, the boom is even bigger this year, said Pullen McIntosh, who is the Humane Society's communications and community relations manager.

"It definitely is," she said. "We always prepare for these types of situations to happen. But we also know you can never control exactly how many animals are going to come in or exactly how many you will see of cats and kittens."

The Humane Society has announced an emergency adoption event. It launched last week, and, until July 15, people can choose their own adoption fee in order to take a cat home.

It's possible to add a new cat to a cat or dog household without it being a big hassle, says Calgary Humane Society communications manager Sage Pullen McIntosh. (Calgary Humane Society)

"There is a cost — they do have to pay something — but they do have that flexibility," said Pullen McIntosh. "That includes first set of shots, that includes everything that they need to get up and running. And we have cats and kittens — everything from eight weeks old to older cats."

For Calgary pet lovers wondering about the logistics of adding a new family member, Pullen McIntosh says the trick is to incorporate the newcomer gradually.

"If you're careful and you do it the right way, it can be very successful," she said.

"We do something called scent swapping.… You'll give them a blanket or a shirt or something that has their scent on and then they pass that to the other cats, so they have the opportunity to get used to each other.

"It is a very gradual process, but it can work very well."

Pinning down a figure difficult

As far as numbers go, Pullen McIntosh said there is such regular turnover that it's difficult to pin down a figure, but added that since July 5, when the emergency adoption event started, 62 cats have been adopted.

That comes after a similar announcement from the City of Calgary's animal shelter, where they have reduced the adoption fee for cats to $80 through July 15.

"People in Calgary are certainly listening," Pullen McIntosh said. "They're coming down to our shelter. It's been very busy, which is fantastic, and we're finding a lot of forever homes for our animals."


With files from The Homestretch.


About the Author

Stephen Hunt

Digital Writer

Stephen Hunt is a digital writer at the CBC in Calgary. Email: stephen.hunt@cbc.ca