PAWS Chicago is launching a new challenge for this summer - finding homes for 350 kittens.
Starting June 1 through September 30, PAWS is asking the Chicago community to help them reach the goal by adopting a pair of kittens.
"There are so many benefits to adopting kittens in pairs," said Erin Mayes, Assistant Director of Feline Behavior. "Kittens crave constant stimulation and are likely to behave better with a playmate. Plus, another cat in the home provides enrichment and entertainment when you are away or sleeping."
Ralph (PAWS Chicago)
The organization says "kitten season," a phenomenon that occurs every year from the onset of warm temperatures in the spring through the fall, brings an influx of mother cats and their litters into shelters. These litters, along with animals that are already homeless, face the risk of euthanasia at open admission shelters.
"Traditionally as soon as the weather begins to warm in an area, that's when we start seeing an influx of baby kittens and their moms entering shelters," said Mayes.
To help clear space for the anticipated flood of animals, PAWS Chicago is also seeking temporary foster homes. The shelter says all experience levels are welcome to become fosters.
"Vanto, he's a little boy," said Erin Mayes, Assistant Director of Feline Training and Behavior at PAWS Chicago, as she held a tiny kitten.
Vanto is one of the many kittens you can adopt as part of PAWS Chicago's Summer Kitten Adoption Challenge.
"You're not only helping them, but they're going to help you," said Mayes.
The adoption fee for one kitten is $150 – for a pair it is $250.
"Having a buddy that they can play with, that they can explore their new homes with, it's just so good for them," Mayes said.
For some, that's a small price to pay for years of companionship and comfort.
"The last year and a half for many we've had to deal with loneliness, stress, anxiety. This is natural therapy," she said.
Each kitten comes spayed or neutered, microchipped and has all of its age-appropriate vaccinations.
"There's nothing more satisfying than knowing that you're saving a life," said Mayes. "And, you know, for a lot of people that I've talked with – that kitten also saves their life."