Cedar Rapids animal shelter at full ‘cat-pacity,’ putting strain on resources

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The kittens won’t stop coming in at the Cedar Valley Humane Society in Cedar Rapids.

“Daily, we’re getting more and more cats,” Programs Manager Hannah McFarlane said.

McFarlane said the summer months are known as “kitten season,” when more kittens are born than any other time of year.

But the Cedar Valley Humane Society has taken in more cats over the last two summers than it has in the past, and it's putting a serious strain on its resources.

Most of the cats are coming from people turning in strays, according to McFarlane, but there has been a string of hoarding and neglect cases over the last two-and-a-half months that has also boosted its cat population.

In May, a woman abandoned more than 30 cats that she couldn't take care of in Central City. Then in June, the shelter removed 10 cats from what it called a “neglect situation.” Last weekend, the shelter took in 16 more cats from an owner who surrendered them.

“We have taken in 469 cats so far this year,” McFarlane said. “We've adopted about 300 and, currently, have 184 in our care right now.”

The Cedar Valley Humane Society is an open-admission shelter, meaning it doesn’t turn animals away, with a few species exceptions. It’s also a no-kill shelter, so it houses those animals until they’re adopted.

McFarlane said it's at a point where there's not enough room at the shelter for all those cats.

"We use foster homes and stuff like that to make space in the shelter as well for those that need us,” she said.

The shelter is in a hurry to get those cats to their forever homes soon, so it's currently running a name-your-price adoption special for its cats and kittens through the rest of the summer.

Taking care of so many animals is a costly expense.

"When a cat comes in the door, all the cats we adopt out are vaccinated, spayed and neutered, medically treated as necessary,” McFarlane said. “Our average is about $250 per cat."

With nearly 200 cats right now, that's a big deal for a private shelter that's solely funded by donations.

"We are running at a loss right now, especially with the name-your-price adoptions and not taking a minimum for them, so we are definitely relying on donations at this point,” McFarlane said.

However, she added that more adoptions would help them deal with more than space and finance issues.

“It would mean being able to help more cats,” McFarlane said.

With so many cats and a few dogs under its roof right now, the Cedar Valley Humane Society is also looking for more volunteers to help out.

Anyone interested in applying to volunteer can do so by visiting the shelter’s website.