June is a special month for cats. This month, the American Humane Association and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals celebrate Adopt-A-Cat Month and Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month, respectively!
These are just two of the many animal welfare organizations that chose June as their cat adoption month. But of all months, why pick June?
THE “HEAT” IN HEAT CYCLES
The answer lies in a cat’s reproductive cycle. In fact, the term “heat cycle” takes on a different meaning when considering the relationship between climate and feline physiology.
The farther away you live from the equator, the more you’ll notice that cats are seasonal breeders: Unlike their canine counterparts, cats go into heat based on how much sunlight there is during the day.
Daytime is longer during summer than in winter. Most cats don’t go into heat during the winter months, a period in a cat’s reproductive cycle called anestrus, according to a 2015 article by Amanda Petersen for the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
That is probably due to feline instincts to preserve their kind: It’s harder for kittens to survive in cold climates, as reported in a 2013 article by Signe and Marke Munkevics, veterinarian and animal behaviorist, respectively.
During warmer months of the year, on the other hand, female cats undergo several estrous cycles, during which they can get pregnant. This leads to an overwhelming increase in the number of kittens that end up in shelters, hence the so-called ‘kitten season’.
June marks the start of summer, and it’s also smack in the middle of kitten season which, according to the Humane Society of the United States, lasts from spring to fall.
With the kitten season peaking in June in the US, it makes perfect sense that many American animal welfare organizations designated this month as the perfect time to adopt cats from shelters.
HOW TO OBSERVE ADOPT-A-CAT MONTH
The most obvious way is—no surprise here—adopting a cat! However, not everyone has the means to adopt.
No need to fret! There are many other ways to ensure that cats get adopted! Here are a few suggestions.
1.Share photos of adoptable cats on Facebook
If you’re on Facebook all the time, you might as well share pictures of cats still looking for their forever homes. You may not be ready to take in a cat from the shelter, but who’s to say your friends aren’t?
There are many Facebook pages that constantly publish posters of cats for adoption. Visit those of CARA Welfare Philippines and Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), to name a couple.
2.Donate to an animal shelter
The more funds a shelter has, the more they can spend on ads promoting cat adoption, not to mention the day-to-day needs of the cats under their care.
No amount is too small; just think of how much funding animal shelters would get if all your Facebook friends gave just a “small” donation!
3.Donate your time and talent
Money isn’t the only thing you can spare a homeless cat. You can also spare your time and talent by volunteering at animal welfare organizations!
Your time and talent are as good a donation as any. While shelter cats benefit from the help you give them, you go home knowing you made a significant contribution to animal welfare. And really, can you put a price tag on that?
4.Find out what’s behind the #AdoptDontShop movement
What’s with that hashtag in the first place? Why is adopting a cat so much better than buying one from the pet store?
Learn about why animal welfare organizations encourage adoption as a solution to animal cruelty. Read up on how adoption helps put an end to unethical backyard breeding. Find out why adoption means saving not only the lives of cats being adopted, but also those of cats being held captive in kitten mills.
5.Share successful adoption stories and videos
The internet is chock-full of YouTube videos and stories about amazing cats finding their way to a human’s heart and home. These are full of love, compassion, and good vibes—in other words, perfect for an online status update!
Share these heartwarming stories with your online friends. That way, they learn a little bit more about how adopting from a shelter can change the life of a feline…and, of course, a human.
6.Tell your friends what’s so special about June
Summer in the Philippines doesn’t start in June, but telling your friends why animal societies in the US designated June as Adopt-a-Cat Month is a great way to talk about the benefits of cat adoption.
CELEBRATE ADOPT-A-CAT MONTH!
Every cat without a home needs all the help it can get. This month, help spread the word, raise awareness, and lend your voice to the beautiful felines that want nothing more than to spend all their nine lives with a loving human.
June is Adopt-a-Cat Month. Join the fun and become part of a hopeful tradition that leads to grateful meows and happy purrs. Heaven knows we need more of these.
This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s June 2017 issue.