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Priced to move

A ‘sale’ on older cats spurs an adoption boom at WCHS

For more information about cats (and dogs and other critters) to adopt, visit www.wchs4pets.org or call 802-254-2232.

BRATTLEBORO—It’s hard to resist the charms of a kitten, and the Windham County Humane Society (WCHS) usually finds new homes for them as fast they come into the shelter.

But older cats tend to wait longer at WCHS to be adopted.

That’s why the shelter periodically offers something almost as irresistible as a kitten – a sale.

Through June 30, WCHS has its “9 Lives for $9” sale. Any cat over 6 months old is only $9 to adopt. The sale includes the standard spay/neuter, shots, and microchipping treatment that each of their adoptees undergoes before being offered to the public.

The usual price for adoptions is $125 for kittens under 6 months, $100 for cats under 5, and by donation for cats older than 5.

On the first day of the sale on June 21, four older cats were adopted. By early afternoon the following day, four more found homes.

Last year, WCHS adopted out 13 cats during the “9 Lives” promotion.

Kelley Murray of Brattleboro was leaving with Mona, a 2 {1/2}-year-old black female cat who had been at the shelter for several weeks.

Mona now sports the name Jet. “It has a certain authority,” said Murray.

Jet will be the only cat at Murray’s residence. “I want her to be comfortable and happy,” she said.

Catherine Barker of Brookline left with Obie, a 3-year-old feral male that was brought to the Windham County Humane Society in a trap. A routine exam found that he tested positive for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), so he couldn’t be released back into the wild, and he could only be adopted by someone who had no other cats.

When asked how she settled on Obie, Barker said that “he needs a home more than the others do, and he’ll get along fine with my dog.”

Vicki Shepard, cat care coordinator for WCHS, said Obie had been a favorite around the shelter due to his sweet disposition.

“This shelter has an astonishing record when it comes to adoptions,” she said, adding that, over the past few years, the time it takes between the arrival of a cat to its adoption by a new owner has dropped from 40 days to 19.

As a no-kill shelter, WCHS is patient when it come to its animals, even if they stay longer than the norm. As a result, Shepard said the shelter continues to take in animals from other shelters, mostly in the South, where space is at a premium and stray animals often end up euthanized.

“We just took in a couple of pregnant cats from Georgia,” Shepard said.

WCHS operations coordinator Carolyn Conrad says she understands why people like adopting kittens and puppies, but she doesn’t understand why older cats scare off some people.

“Cats can live a long time if they’re well cared for,” she said. “I’ve had cats live to 18. They still have a lot of love to give.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #209 (Wednesday, June 26, 2013).

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