ESTEVAN - The Estevan Humane Society can typically accommodate about 40 cats, but thanks to foster families, they were able to have just under 100 felines during the brutally cold final days of 2021.
Right around the holidays, the shelter had to put a freeze on intakes, as they had no more room available anywhere. Starting Jan. 1, they dropped the cats' adoption fee to $30 for a month, to create space for other animals in need. The adoption fee still includes sterilization and all age-appropriate vaccines.
"This $30 cat promo that we have going on is just an incentive to get people aware that, hey we want to help these cats out; we don't like saying no. We just want to get people in here and adopting them," said shelter manager Allisa Mckinna.
"One cat out doesn't just save one cat's life, it also opens a kennel up for another cat for us to bring in. So that was our idea to get people to realize that you were doing a great thing by adopting, but you're also actually opening space so we can continue to take in cats and help them and take them out of the cold."
Mckinna said that they exceeded all their capacities at the end of December and beginning of January. And if not for their fosters, they would never be able to save so many animals.
"Thankfully to our fosters, we were able to take in more cats and so we had more out on foster than we actually did in the shelter, so we were able to take in that many from the cold and help them out," Mckinna said.
The shelter saw an increase in intake starting in October and all the way through December. In the last month of the year, they had about 50 foster homes helping them with the felines waiting for someone to adopt them. Some of the homes had multiple animals in their care, as some of the cats had kittens, which stayed together.
Mckinna said that the decreased fee helps to move a lot cats of out of the shelter. By mid-January, they already saw 17 adoptions and hope to have at least 30 animals adopted before the end of the month. And while decreased fees mean that the shelter has to take over even more expenses than they usually would, they are still very happy to see animals finding their new families, allowing them to help others.
"Even with our normal adoption fees, we're never making money off of cats here … just so we can keep our adoption fees fair to the public," said Mckinna, adding that the reduced fee that still covers spaying or neutering allows more people to take animals in.
While some cats have found their new homes, the shelter is far from getting back to its manageable numbers, and they still desperately need more people to consider adopting.
"We're still not completely off our intake freeze, but since the beginning of January since this promo, people have actually been coming in and taking advantage of the promo, which is super helpful because then we are able to open back up on to emergent cases or young kittens who are out in the col," Mckinna said.