The Gastineau Humane Society is asking for the public’s help after a Juneau homeowner surrendered 27 young cats to animal control.
“They’ve been through a lot lately,” said animal control director Karen Wood as she stood in front of kennels filled with mewling black cats, most less than a year old.
The animals are being cleaned, vaccinated and treated for various ailments, but GHS executive director Samantha Blankenship said it hasn’t been easy: GHS will pay more than $10,000 to care for the sudden influx of needy cats.
“The easiest way for people to help us is with financial donations. Spread the word to people who want to adopt a cat. There will be plenty available,” she said.
While GHS has a contract with the City and Borough of Juneau to provide animal control services, that contract doesn’t cover special cases or animals with intensive needs.
Blankenship said people tend to shy away from adopting black cats, which makes finding homes particularly important.
The cats came to the shelter last week, Wood and Blankenship said, after a Juneau resident called the shelter and asked for help.
“We’re here to help. I really don’t want to stigmatize the person who came forward,” Blankenship said.
About a year and a half ago, the person acquired a pair of cats. The cats weren’t fixed, and as cats do, they bred. Then, those kittens bred.
“Things quickly spiraled out of control,” Wood said. “(The owner) clearly never intended for this to happen.”
By the time the owner called the shelter for help, she thought she had 14 cats. The final tally was almost twice that, and many were infected with intestinal parasites or were dealing with other conditions.
Wood and Blankenship said the shelter does have a low-cost spay and neuter program for people who think they can’t afford to have their animals fixed. If things do get out of control, they prefer people ask for help sooner, rather than later.
Wood said this type of mass turn-in happens about once per year, and there may be many more cases that the shelter doesn’t hear about.
“We think it’s more common than we know,” Wood said.
KNOW AND GO:
Visiting hours at Gastineau Humane Society are 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and 1-5 p.m. on Saturdays. To make a donation, visit www.ghspets.org.
• Contact reporter James Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 523-2258.