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Iowa City Animal Shelter seeing an influx of cats for adoption

BY QUENTIN MISIAG | JULY 09, 2013 5:00 AM

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A recent home impoundment, coupled with a peak breeding period and a lack of available space at another nearby facility has one local entity pinched for space.

And at the center of it all?

More than 100 furry and fuzzy felines.

In the past month, director Misha Goodman said the Iowa City Animal & Adoption Center, 4852 Sand Road S.E., has seen a 50 percent jump in the number of cats and kittens in need of new homes, which has put a space, budgetary, and care strain on the shelter.

Although she said an influx seems to appear on a year-to-year basis, she said the collection of 28 cats from an Iowa City area residences has prompted the facility to lower adoption costs, send out nearly 300 mass volunteer-needed emails, and increase the weekly mobile adoption services.

“[The cats are] everywhere,” she said.

Current space and adoption aiding measures, Goodman said, include reducing the initial adoption cost and sticking up to three per kennel in some instances.

Those looking to adopt should note that for $40, an adult male cat with a microchip, license, health screenings, spay, neuter, and vaccinations can be purchased.

That stands at a $25 reduction in cost from standard rates.

An adult female cat now costs just $50, down from $85 originally.

The average age of cats in the shelter stands between 8 weeks and 3 years.

Goodman said if the number of available adopted cats continue to rise, a move into their new, 9,300-square-foot larger permanent facility may not even be the needed aid.

“We are accommodating the numbers we are currently taking in, but any additional numbers, and we’ll be in the same boat,” she said.

Charlotte Tobiason, a program director, said as many of the 300 individuals who volunteer at some point throughout the year are college students who have gone home for the summer, email efforts have proven to be of little help.

With a cramped location more than six miles from the middle of Iowa City and a staff of 11, and she said even starting the day at 6 a.m. has proven to be a challenge.

Generally, Tobiason said, just four people are taking care of the 166 total animals, which can yield errors in disease detection and the nurturing process for young animals.

“It’s just an insane number for us to take on,” she said. “Anyone who has ever considered adopting, now is the time.”

Tobiason said increased variety of cats and kittens is the one silver lining that has appeared in the whole process.

To date, the Iowa City Friends of the Animal Shelter Foundation have raised $750,000 toward its $1 million fundraising goal.

Jeff Davidson, the city director of planning and development, said the current influx only demonstrates the bottom line further need for the permanent facility to be built on Napoleon Lane near the Terry Trueblood Recreational Area and Napolean Park.

“The important thing from the city perspective, we’ve got to get it built,” he said. “That’s the global thing.”

Goodman said that at the end of the day, if adoptions fail to take place, one certainly will come forward.

“We don’t have a choice; we have to take them in, but if we keep getting more, the sad truth is, we may have to euthanize some,” she said. “We’re doing our best to not have to do that, but we can only hold so many.”


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