ABINGDON, Va. — Grace Bates is what you might call a kitten cuddler. The Meadowview woman visits the Washington County C.C. Porter Animal Shelter at least once a week to hold the kittens and talk to them.
“I’ll probably hold most of them before I leave today,” said Bates, who visited the shelter last week to find dozens of cats and kittens available for adoption.
According to Teresa Price, manager of the Abingdon shelter, there are as many as 75 cats and kittens needing good homes.
“We have more cats and kittens than anyone could dream of. We got to 50 and quit counting,” she said. “We’re looking for people who will open up their homes to these sweet pets.
“This is nothing out of the ordinary. Kitten season has arrived. It hits this time every spring, and it will run through August. Last year it ran until September.”
Last week the cages were filled with all ages and colors of cats. “We have black ones, white ones, striped, calico, gray and orange ones. The ages start at eight weeks and go to adults.”
According to Price, the Department of Animal Control does not pick up stray cats in the county. Cats and kittens at the shelter are those surrendered from the owners or born to cats while being sheltered.
In an effort to increase adoption numbers, the facility will host its annual Shelter Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 13. Hot dogs and chips will be available.
“If you’re looking for a pet to adopt, this is a good time to visit the shelter,” said Price.
“Adoption fees of $25 for dogs and $15 for cats are waived for the day, but we still collect the $50 spay and neutering fee for each animal. Once the owner has their new pet spayed or neutered, they can return the sterilization papers, and a refund will be processed,” explained Price.
“So the adoption ends up being free.”
During the event, rabies vaccines will be available, $10 for one-year vaccines and $20 for three-year vaccines. Bordetella vaccines for dogs and feline leukemia vaccines for cats will also be available.
The manager encourages people to take time to visit with the cats and kittens, even if they cannot adopt a pet, and provide the wee ones love and affection. Snuggles are an important part of the development of kittens, making them more comfortable around people and more adoptable.
“People are welcome to come in and play with the kittens anytime they want to. They need all the love they can get because we don’t have time to give them the attention they need, especially since we have so many right now,” Price said.
The manager said healthy kittens and cats will remain at the shelter until they are adopted or sent to rescue groups outside of the area.
The Abingdon shelter works with Happy Tails Animal Rescue of Washington County to find good homes for cats and dogs. Happy Tails transports the animals to rescue groups in the Richmond and Charlottesville areas, where they can be adopted.
Price said people also can help by donating supplies to keep the cats more comfortable.
“We can always use cat litter, as well as wet canned food. We mix the pate food with water so that the kittens can eat it well.”
She also welcomes donated towels and newspapers used to line the cat cages at the shelter.
The C.C. Porter Animal Shelter is located at 27252 Porter Lane. The shelter is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays.
For more information on adopting a pet or making a donation, call the animal shelter at 276-676-6210.