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Shelters sweat the summer with cat surplus

Apparently, summer is that time of year when cat owners tell their felines, "It's not you, it's me," and surrender them to shelters.

WASHINGTON – Apparently, summer is that time of year when cat owners tell their felines, “It’s not you, it’s me,” and surrender them to shelters.

Animal welfare workers across the region say facilities are crammed with cats. One shelter even declared an “animal disaster” with a critical need for adopters and people willing to foster animals.

At the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, Communications Director Patrick Cole explained the situation while Apricat sat on his lap. Cole said Apricat was adopted twice and for reasons that aren’t exactly clear, has ended up back at the shelter.

“She’s a great cat, and we’re hoping the next time she’ll find her permanent home,” Cole says.

Cole says when people move, when someone discovers they have allergies or a family finds they just can’t care for a cat, shelters like his — which take all comers — end up with a surplus of animals. He has at least 75 adult cats that need homes now. That’s apart from the kittens, puppies, adult dogs and even the occasional rabbit or turtle that’s in need of a home.

Cole says another reason people surrender their pets: a behavioral problem crops up. In that case, he’d recommend calling his staffers. They not only facilitate the adoption process, but also offer assistance to a new pet parent after he or she brings a new best friend home.

Owners can get advice on training and caring for their pet. The Washington Humane Society offers the same advice, and recently blogged about things to consider before surrendering a pet to a shelter.

This week, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is launching an adoption campaign and waiving adoption fees on adult cats. The Washington Humane Society is also “slashing” adoption fees (the pun is theirs and, yes, it’s most definitely intended).

Anyone who is looking to give a cat, or other animal, a home, check out the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria’s list of adoptable pets.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @KateRyanWTOP, @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.