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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Abandoned cats crowd shelter

A county animal shelter is so overwhelmed with felines that some are being euthanized after just one day.

Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services in Spokane Valley is seeing a record number of cats coming in, officials said.

SCRAPS has handled 2,276 cats so far this year – 87 more than the same time last year.

“The average life of a cat coming in the shelter is one to seven days,” SCRAPS director Nancy Hill said.

“We have way more coming in than going out. I feel like … rerouting traffic to make everyone adopt a cat.”

A voucher program allows owners to have their cats spayed or neutered for $8.

“Without the program I suspect it would be worse,” Hill said. “But people are not taking cat ownership seriously.”

Hill wonders why few cat owners come to retrieve their pets.

Only 58 owners have come to the shelter to retrieve a feline so far this year, compared with 723 dog owners.

SCRAPS is the only county facility with a 24-hour receiving room.

Forms that explain why the felines are being dropped off give reasons such as “found cat under house,” “cat poops in the flower garden” or “found, but can’t keep.”

County law requires that cats be licensed.

“License your cat,” Hill said. “It’s the law and your pet’s phone call home.”

Owners of unlicensed cats can be fined $200.

“Keep your cat inside,” Hill said. “Outside cats are more likely to be injured or lost.”

The animal shelter is offering a reduced adoption cost for a limited time of $33.68, instead of $55.68.

Adoptions include the cat’s spay or neuter, license, microchip, initial vaccinations and a free vet check.

“These are grim numbers,” Hill said of cats flowing into the shelter.

A transfer program allowing SCRAPS to send cats to faraway shelters with more space “may be in jeopardy because of gas prices.”

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