Is a new pet in your future?

If so, you’re in luck this weekend if you live in Washington County or Bristol, Virginia — or the adjacent Virginia counties of Russell, Scott, Smyth or Grayson.

This Saturday, July 13, the C.C. Porter Animal Shelter at 27252 Porter Lane in Abingdon is holding its annual Shelter Day event, during which the usual adoption fees of $25 for dogs and $15 for cats will be waived.

You’ll be able to take home a new pet for free — except for a $50 spay/neuter deposit for each animal adopted. (That deposit will be refunded once you bring proof to the shelter within 45 days that your adopted pet has been spayed or neutered by a licensed veterinarian.)

The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., is important to the shelter, as it helps reduce the booming summer cat and kitten population of the facility, which now has about 75 felines, according to a recent Washington County News story by Carolyn R. Wilson.

“We have more cats and kittens than anyone could dream of,” shelter manager Teresa Price told the newspaper. “We’re looking for people who will open up their homes to these sweet pets.”

The boom in cats awaiting their forever homes is “nothing out of the ordinary,” Price said. “Kitten season has arrived. It hits this time every spring, and it will run through August. Last year it ran until September. We have black ones, white ones, striped, calico, gray and orange ones. The ages start at eight weeks and go to adults.”

These cats and kittens at the shelter aren’t strays picked up by animal control; they are felines that have been surrendered by their former owners, or kittens born to cats at the shelter, Price said.

Cats are prolific breeders, and the spring/summer kitten boom each year underscores the importance of having you cats spayed or neutered — whether you get them from a shelter or someplace else.

Curiously, though, the Abingdon shelter will not allow residents outside the immediate area to adopt its animals, and that applies to anyone who lives outside the state — even though Washington County runs along the Tennessee border.

There might be some Bristol and Sullivan County, Tennessee, folks who would be more than willing to adopt some of these animals and give them good homes. Perhaps some special accommodation could be made for these nearby residents, at least for Shelter Day or while the shelter is packed full of cats and kittens.

The shelter also welcomes visitors to the facility to hold and cuddle the cats and kittens to help socialize them. That’s especially important to kittens, as they need gentle attention and affection from people beginning at an early age to make them friendly to and accepting of humans.

“People are welcome to come in and play with the kittens anytime they want to,” Price said. “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.”

She added that healthy kittens and cats will remain at the shelter until they are adopted or handed over to cat rescue groups out of the area, particularly in Richmond and Charlottesville. The shelter works with Happy Tails Animal Rescue of Washington County to find good homes for the animals.

Saturday’s event will also provide rabies vaccines — $10 for one-year vaccines and $20 for three-year — as well as Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccines for dogs and feline leukemia vaccines for cats.

“If you’re looking for a pet to adopt, this is a good time to visit the shelter,” Price said.

Even if you can’t make it to Shelter Day on Saturday, the C.C. Porter Animal Shelter is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays from 1-4 p.m., and the first and third Saturdays of each month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Shelters such as this one usually are the best places to find dogs, puppies, cats and kittens, and adopting from a shelter helps your local animal control efforts. Most shelters require spaying or neutering to help hold down the numbers of potentially abandoned or neglected cats and dogs.

Are you ready to give a needy animal a forever home?

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