CHICAGO — Each year at animal shelters across the country, warm weather ushers in an influx of fur babies.
Nearly 200 kittens and 85 puppies are being sheltered at PAWS Chicago, making up nearly half of all animals at the no-kill organization, spokesperson Sarah McDonald said. Kittens are frequently born in the summer, McDonald said, which prompted the organization to launch a kitten adoption campaign.
“Right now we’re in the middle of kitten season,” McDonald said. “This year, we want to get as many kittens in homes as we could, so we launched a summer kitten adoption challenge.”
McDonald estimates about 350 kittens will go through the shelter this season. The adoption push, continuing until Sept. 30, encourages people to adopt a pair of kittens instead of just one — a win-win for the shelters and the kittens.
“So far, we are reaching our [adoption] goals,” McDonald said. “Kittens need interaction with other kittens for a nice, healthy social development. They’re curious and obviously always want constant attention and stimulation, so they tend to be better behaved when they’re paired with a playmate.”
PAWS logged 50,000 adoption inquiries during the pandemic last year, when much of the city was shut down and many Chicagoans hunkered down at home. With the city and suburbs opening up and many Chicagoans headed back to work in person, McDonald said adoptions have slowed.
“We also have a huge need for foster homes,” she said. “We’ve put out several foster pleas as our adoption has slowed. People have been really wonderful about stepping up to help us during just these kind of difficult weeks.”
PAWS’ Lincoln Park shelter is open for in-person adoption appointments. Other programs are planned for the summer to boost adoptions, including Underdog to Wonder Dog, which focuses on finding forever homes for older dogs.
All of the “underdogs” will have their adoption fees waived Saturday-Sunday at the Lincoln Park adoption center, 1997 N. Clybourn Ave. PAWS also will waive adoption fees for cats at least 1 year old starting July 15.
“This has been a tough year. Pets provide comfort in times of uncertainty and stress, and they help lower anxiety,” McDonald said. “They help us get active, help us with any depression we might be going through and help our loneliness. So we always always advocate for pet adoption.”
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