SF adoption agencies struggle to care for cats

August 24, 2010 12:02:30 AM PDT
Two animal welfare agencies in San Francisco say they're swamped with kittens and cats. Unfortunately, the down economy could be to blame.

"It's really overwhelming and it's really overwhelming because the kitties are crying for attention and you can't reach them fast enough," says volunteer Shanti Zinzi.

Fast enough because there are so many of them. Close to 100 cats are now being cared for by San Francisco Animal Care and Control. Some have a cage to themselves, others are bunking with a few more, and they keep coming in. There are feral cats, abandoned cats, and even whole litters.

"Just in the strays last Friday alone there was, out of 60 cages there was 57 cages full and some of those had multiple animals," says Zinzi.

Across the street at the San Francisco SPCA it's the same story of being flooded with too many cats. Between both agencies they have taken in 400 in the past few weeks.

The agencies say they typically see an increase in kittens during the spring and summer, but now they are seeing more pets being abandoned.

Rebecca Katz believes there's a lot going on here. There are more abandoned pets due to people leaving the Bay Area, an increase in the feral populations, and the economy. When people are out of work, they can't feed their pets or afford vet care, so they end up here.

"Even minor health issues are getting harder and harder for people to afford the vet care for them so we do see animals come in with very treatable ailments, but the people who are surrendering them don't have the funds to treat them," says Katz.

Animal Care and Control says it costs them $50 a day just to take care of one cat and with so many of these animals coming in that could potentially put them over their budget by 10 percent.

The agency says they will try and place as many of the healthy animals in new homes, but with so many, they will need the public's help.


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