The Lawrence Humane Society already has received 165 cats in July; space at the shelter is limited.
The Lawrence Humane Society is overflowing.
Room after room of is filled with cages of cats. In larger spaces, kittens mew, wanting attention. Some have gooey, infected eyes; others are painfully thin.
Executive director Midge Grinstead said that this June saw almost 100 more cats brought in than last year.
``In the first two weeks (of July), we've gotten 165,'' she said. ``People are bringing us colonies of cats. What we're getting is a lot of sick, sick cats.''
June also brought in a large amount of felines. The shelter had 247 cats in June; 186 were still with the society.
``We've gotten day-old kittens,'' Grinstead said.
Animal control brought in three newly born kittens; Grinstead said they were lucky. Another mother cat took them in.
Many of the cats brought in are sick, with respiratory infections or feline leukemia. Many are treatable; the rest have to be euthanized. Until recently, Grinstead said the society had been almost a no-kill shelter for cats.
June and July changed that.
``It's something we don't want to do, ever.''
At the Humane Society building on East 19th Street, almost all the cages are full. Besides cats and kittens, the humane society has a ferret, guinea pigs and rabbits.
The remedy, she said, is spaying and neutering. Two female cats can bear two litters of six kittens a year; by the end of year, there can be 144 cats. Many people, she said, just want outdoor barn cats.
``They don't get them spayed and neutered; they don't get them vaccinated,'' she said. ``They multiply and they get sick.''
The Humane Society has offered help paying for spaying or neutering in the past, using a $10,000 grant, but that money has run out.
``Anytime someone brought puppies or kittens in, we asked if they wanted to get the mother spayed,'' Grinstead said. ``It went like wildfire.''
The city and county contract with the Humane Society to shelter animals instead of with a pound. The money from Lawrence and Douglas County isn't always enough, Grinstead said. To help cover costs, the Humane Society has started two new fund-raisers, Pennies for Puppies and Cans Can. The society is asking people to bring in their pennies to feed and vaccinate puppies, and their aluminum can to help replenish the spay/neuter subsidy fund.
Grinstead said she thinks one of the reasons so many more animals are being brought in is because more and more people are learning about the Humane Society.
The Humane Society has kittens, puppies, cat and dogs available for adoption to good homes.
-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.