WATERTOWN — Gibbs and DiNozzo aren’t coming out to play from the television drama NCIS.
They’re actually 3-month-old male kittens that want a forever home, as does Mimosa and Amaretto, 2-month-old tiger kitten siblings. They are just four of the dozens of cats and kittens available at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Jefferson County’s main shelter, 25056 Water St., and PETCO adoption center, 21851 Towne Center Drive.
“This is kitten season, so we are inundated with kittens,” said Douglas J. Marlow, SPCA executive director. “When we get over 40 cats, we get concerned crowding will affect their health. It’s less expensive for us to lower adoption fees and move cats quickly than to treat them for upper respiratory infections. We’re trying to counter that.”
The SPCA is running a special this week: half-off cat and kitten adoption fees. People who wish to adopt kittens will pay only $65 this week, and those wishing to adopt adult cats will pay $40. Next week prices go back up to $130 and $80, respectively.
Mr. Marlow said that method is more of a preventive approach. Upper respiratory infections may make kittens and cats have watery eyes, sneeze and develop a sinus infection and gunk around the eyes, and the symptoms could progress enough to where the animals need antibiotics, according to Sandra Young Klindt, a veterinarian who contracts with the nonprofit agency.
“When they all come into the shelter, it’s like sending kids to kindergarten; the more crowded the shelter is, the easier (sickness) is to spread,” she said. “The shelter only has so much space.”
Cats, she said, eventually get over the infection, but Mr. Marlow said that’s after added expenses.
Not only would a 10-day treatment of antibiotics cost about $50, he said, but there is an added expense when more supplies such as bleach and laundry soap are needed.
Visitors to the shelter now must step onto a bleach-soaked cloth before walking into the dog and cat areas.
Mr. Marlow said another additional expense the shelter has is increased spay and neuter costs since more animals may come in around this time. He said he did not have an exact amount of how much the agency has spent on that thus far this “kitten season.”
The SPCA also receives help from about 40 households that foster animals. Many of those homes, Mr. Marlow said, have full litters of kittens. Few puppy litters are in foster homes, and there also were about seven available, adoptable dogs at the main shelter as of Monday. During busy times, such as “kitten season,” Mr. Marlow said the agency gives a lot of credit to all volunteers who help the SPCA operate smoothly. All volunteers, including those who foster animals, offer a total 80,000 hours of their time per year, he said.
For more information, call the agency at 782-3260.