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National Adopt a Cat Month means there’s no better time to adopt

LAPLACE — With June declared as National Adopt a Cat Month, there seems no better time for families to welcome a new, furry friend to their clan.

Locally, residents interested in adopting a pet can turn to the St John Parish Animal Shelter, located at 488 West 2nd St. in LaPlace. The shelter is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday. Daily adoption hours are from noon to 4 p.m.

Animal Shelter volunteer Paula Snyder interacts with the shelter cats, including Princess, on a daily basis.

Animal Shelter volunteer Paula Snyder interacts with the shelter cats, including Princess, on a daily basis.

Adoption fees for cats of any age are $80, Animal Shelter Manager Racheal Sance said, adding the fee pays for spay/neuter, rabies and basic vaccinations, micro-chipping and age appropriate heartworm and feline combo testing.

“We don’t have many adult cat adoptions,” Sance said. “But we have some of the most affectionate cats.”

Sance said Paula Snyder, who volunteers at the shelter for four hours every  day, spends her time playing with the kittens and cats. Because of that, Sance said, the felines at the shelter are used to interaction and therefore more affectionate.

“We have really awesome cats because of the time she spends with them,” Sance said.

Snyder said it is rewarding for her to volunteer with the cats, and she hopes the time she spends with them leads to them being more social, and hence, more adoptable.

Sance said anyone wanting to adopt a cat from the shelter must submit an adoption questionnaire and meet basic requirements before bringing a furry friend home.

The American Humane Association lists many things a person interested in adopting a cat should consider.

The first is that if you’re thinking about adopting a cat, you may want to consider taking home two.

“Cats require exercise, mental stimulation and social interaction,” the American Humane Association website states. “Two cats can provide this for each other.”

Sance said “most animals do better with a partner,” adding there are foster opportunities available through the shelter if someone wants to adopt a cat and foster another.

Another thing to take into consideration, Sance said, is to find a cat whose personality meshes with yours. She said just as we each have our own personality, so do cats. Sance tries to help people pick out an animal that best fits with their personality and their children’s personality and activity level.

Sance said before any one adopts an animal they should pick out a veterinarian and budget for the short- and long-term costs of a cat. Cats require flea medication, preventative care and possible treatment, all of which can get pricey.

“Our goal with adoption is to make sure these animals are not returned,” Sance said, emphasizing how important it is for people to consider all of the responsibilities in caring for an animal.

She said it’s important to make sure all of the people living in the house are on board with an animal adoption decision, and it’s not a bad idea to stock up on supplies before the cat arrives.

Sance listed a litter box and carrier as the two essential items a person should have when bringing a new cat home. Cats, especially adult cats, are normally not very fond of car rides, Sance said, so a carrier can make transportation much easier.

Once a new cat is home, Sance said measures should be taken to cat-proof the home as soon as possible.

“This is important, especially with kittens, who can get into trouble while exploring,” she said, adding one way people can make sure cats are comfortable in a new home is to place gates in doorways to slowly give animals who are used to smaller quarters limited access to a whole house.

Doing so, Sance said, can eliminate accidents and stress on a cat.

Finally, the American Humane Association reminds residents it’s important to include their new pet in their family’s emergency plan.

“You probably have a plan in place for getting your family to safety in case of an emergency,” its website states. “Adjust this plan to include your pets.”

Sance said families should bring a pet carrier and copies of all vet records with them in the case of a hurricane evacuation.

“If you’re evacuating, it’s likely the cat will be stressed out and may bite,” she said, adding having your animal up-to-date with vaccinations and having current vet records in your possession could eliminate the chances of your animal needing to be housed in a shelter if they do bite someone.

Sance said water may be more important than food in an evacuation for a cat, because when cats are stressed they tend to eat less.

Cats, as well as other animals, available for adoption can be viewed at petfinder.com/shelters/stjohn.html or by searching “St. John the Baptist Parish Animal Shelter” on Facebook.

Adoption days are scheduled at LaPlace’s PetSmart as well, Sance said, adding photos of adoption-ready animals are also posted at the store.

She said volunteers are always needed at the shelter, and the shelter is in need of Science Diet Critical Care kitten food, canned kitten food, cat toys and cat beds if anyone is interested in donating.

For more information on adopting, volunteering or donating, call the St. John Parish Animal Shelter at 985-651-7387.