Upsurge in kittens forces slashing of adoption fees

An influx of hundreds of homeless kittens during a down economy is forcing The City’s adoption clinic to ask for $25 every time an owner drops off an animal.

About 400 cats have filled the shelters of Animal Care and Control and The City’s overflow adoption agency, the nonprofit San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Animal Care and Control is offsetting the cost of caring for them — spaying, neutering, grooming and feeding — with an “if you can afford it”-type fee.

“We’re obviously rolling with the punches,” animal control spokeswoman Deborah Campbell said. “The fees are waived if they honestly can’t afford it … but sometimes we have so many that we are full and we don’t have any space.”

Animal control is crafting creative adoption deals. It usually costs about $125 for a young cat that is spayed, neutered, registered, current on shots and microchipped. The agency is enticing potential owners with special offers such as senior discounts and cheaper fees for people who adopt more than one cat.

Pet Food Express is donating food for the foster pets, and animal control has been holding weekend mobile adoption clinics at its stores.

The SPCA, which has an agreement with The City to care for cats, and animal control kennels are bursting at the seams. The clinics are regularly full and are having a harder time finding potential owners.

“There are issues surrounding surrenders,” SPCA spokeswoman Jennifer Lu said. “Also, the number of cats is going at a slower pace than previous years. It’s sort of a perfect storm.”

The SPCA has started a “Name Your Adoption Rate” seasonal campaign, asking for a $20 minimum donation.

Campbell said the organization is determined to keep the animals until a veterinarian determines their quality of life is no longer viable.

She said there are several foster homes that are not run by The City, such as Toni’s Kitty Rescue, that also have too many cats. 

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

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