The city's Animal Care and Control Team shelter saw a population explosion this week on top of the usual spike in feline drop-offs during the spring and summer months, dubbed "kitten season" by staffers.
"Starting Saturday, we've been getting 90 or more cats a day," ACCT's Livesaving Manager Natalie Smith said Thursday. "Yesterday we had 115." She said that, though dog intake is generally steady, their numbers also skyrocketed this week, with 30 to 40 handed over each day.
"Philadelphia's size and socioeconomic situation exacerbates the population problem because a lot of people can't spay or neuter their pets," Smith said. But even that doesn't explain the recent boom. "It was so weird," Smith said. "Out of nowhere, 'bang!' I don't know if people were concerned because of the heat, if that changed their priorities, but this week has been crazy."
Smith said the shelter is dealing with the salvo using a two-pronged approach, partnering with several pet stores, hundreds of rescue centers and foster parents and offering affordable adoptions – right now, microchipped, vaccinated and spayed or neutered adult cats can be had for $1.
ACCT also maintains pet food pantries, low-cost spay and neuter programs and behavioral counseling. "We want to focus not just on getting the animals out once they're here, but also on keeping them out in the first place," she said.
The ACCT center takes in an average of 32,000 animals each year and manages to place about 60 percent in adoption or rescue facilities. That means that some 12,800 animals are annually euthanized.
As of Thursday, 81 dogs, one rabbit and 228 cats had been adopted this July.
This weekend, ACCT is holding its Christmas in July "Whisker Wonderland Adoption Extravaganza." From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the shelter at 111 W. Hunting Park Ave will have food, music, and the following special adoption prices:
– Adult cats (over six months) – Free
– Kittens (under six months) – $10
– Adult dogs (over six months) – $10
– Puppies (under six months) – $30
– Adopt two cats or kittens for the price of one