SOUTH BURLINGTON The Human Society of Chittenden County (HSCC) is currently housing more than 130 cats and is asking the public to help ease the burden of providing a safe, com-fortable home for the rising number of felines awaiting adoption.
According to De-Vida Johnson, community relations director for the HSCC, the South Burlington facility is in need of supplies to help care for their growing population of cats. The HSCC is an open admission facility and does not set a time limit on how long animals remain in its adoption program.
"We don't turn animals away if they need our help," said Johnson. "The animals can stay as long as is necessary for us to place them with a family."
The facility currently uses about 1,000 pounds of cat litter per week, and goes through hundreds of pounds of wet and dry cat food in that time as well. Numerous cats and dogs require special medical attention and must also be spayed or neutered. In addition to asking the public for donations to help defer the costs of caring for the animals, Johnson is also encouraging families to visit the humane society when they begin thinking about bringing an animal into their lives.
"We have over 130 cats in this building," said Johnson. "We have some young kittens, but our cats range in age from very young to at least 10 years old."
Johnson said that there are many benefits to adopting an older cat as opposed to just looking for kittens. For example, older cats have established personalities and are often well-trained from day one. These factors make it easier to place these cats with just the right family.
"Kittens are cute, but older cats can bring a lot into your life," added Johnson. "When trying to determine whether or not a cat is a good fit, an older cat can be easier."
When a family comes to the HSCC looking for a cat, matchmaking becomes a top priority.
"We do our best," said Johnson. "A huge part of what we do is to explain what the cat needs and what its background iswe can tell families if the cat is good with other animals or not, and even whether or not the cat will be good around young children."
Background checks on potential adoptees are often performed, so the HSCC can establish if the cat will be going to a good home. Basic housing information is needed before a cat can be adopted, as it is important to know if the cat will be going to a rental home or a permanent home.
"We also do our best to explain the responsibilities of owning a pet," said Johnson. "People adopting an animal need to know what the caring of the pet entails and the costs of owning a pet. The adoption is the beginning of the relationship, we want to encourage families to come to us with any questions they might have after the pet enters its new home."
Johnson also noted some of the difficulties of being a center without a set time limit for its adoption program.
"One of the things about not having a set time is that we have to try and make it as comfortable as possible for the cats and dogs that stay here," she said.
For example, some of the cats at the HSCC stay in individual environments because they prefer to be separated from other cats, whereas some cats live in multiple cat housing units.
To make a donation to the HSCC, please visit www.chittenden humane.org, or call at 802-862-0135. The humane society is open Tuesday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.