The Animal Welfare Society, located in West Kennebunk, has had up to 80 cats and kittens brought to the shelter this summer. Those interested in adopting can come and meet the animals. (Courtesy photo/Catherine Bart photo)

KENNEBUNK — The Animal Welfare Society is offering a discount through Aug. 31 on cat and kitten adoption fees, as the shelter received at least 80 felines in July.

This summer, the shelter has been getting an incredible number of cats, said Stephanie Kelley, AWS’s marketing communications manager, describing it as a “cat-alanche.”

The normal number of cats usually at the shelter is closer to 20 or 30.

While any time is a great time to adopt, said Kelley, the more cats that are available means that there are more options, especially if someone is looking for a specific color, gender, etc.

Currently, Kelley said, kittens are $175 and adult cats are $75. Senior cats are always $10, she added.

“It’s normally a little over $200,” she said. “We have diagrams we sometimes put out that show that if you got all of the care that the animal has received on their own, it would be $400 to $500.”

Kelley added that the animals all receive vaccinations, spaying and neutering and microchipping, which can be much more expensive for the pet owner to do themselves.

“Another benefit about adopting is that the animal has received full veterinary care, is microchipped, has already been spayed or neutered, has received all the treatments it needs, been tested,” she said. “Animals over 12 weeks have received rabies shots. They’re basically good to go.”

Microchipping is like a permanent name tag that is placed in between the animal’s collarbone, Kelley said.

“It’s an identification system,” she said. “It’s a tiny, little, almost looks like a grain of rice, and it’s inserted almost in between the animal’s collarbones. It’s a really great way to identify a cat— particularly cats because they’re not as likely to be wearing a collar if it were to get outside or if they were outside cats anyway. It’s generally done when it’s having its spay or neutering surgery, but it doesn’t have to be done when they’re under anesthesia. They don’t even notice it.”

Kelley added that there is a misconception when it comes to microchipping.

“Some people think that it’s a GPS tracker, should the animal get lost,” she said. “It is not. It’s simply an identification.

Not all shelters offer that as part of the adoption and it’s something that the owner would have to do afterwards, so we’re really pleased with that. They arrive at AWS and it’s our information put on the chip, and when they get adopted it’s switched over to the owners. The cool thing is if you move you can just go online and update that information, so it’s always accurate.”

While the “cat-alanche” was a surprise to the shelter, it’s not unusual, Kelley said.

“It’s come and go,” she said. “Once the kittens started coming in, it was mid-July where we’d just recently brought up two groups of cats from the South. At the same time, we had cats come back from local fosters, and it was just kind of like, Whoa!”

Because AWS is a no-kill shelter, an animal can stay for as long as it will take to find a perfect home, Kelley said.

“We also have volunteers who take cats in foster care,” she said, “whether they are mother cats with a litter that are too young to be adopted, a cat that might be recovering from illness or injury or a cat that might just be really shy. They might just do better in a homelife environment and really aren’t transitioning well to life at the shelter. They’ve generally been here a while.”

Summertime is the fertile season for mother cats, Kelley said, so there are usually more kittens during this time of year, which is perfect for anyone who is looking for one.

Kelley said that she has adopted a cat from the shelter herself and has an incredible bond with her pet.

“I like cats because they’re generally quiet, are independent,” she said. “They’re just pleasant to have around. For children, it teaches responsibility. It’s just getting love and giving love. It’s always a good time to adopt a pet, but now is a great time because we just have so many cats. You’re going to have more of a choice.”

Kelley said that the shelter is now down to about 50 cats, which is still considered a lot for AWS.

“You’re welcome to visit with as many animals as you want, really think about it, and find the right one,” she said.

— Catherine Bart can be reached at [email protected] or 780-9029.

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