The animal shelter in Troutdale has run out of space for incoming cats and kittens

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM PHOTO - One-year-old Tyra is one of the many cats ready to be adopted at the Multnomah Animal Shelter.Sound the alarm.

There are too many cute kittens being born, and they are filling up local animal shelters already at capacity with cats needing adoption.

The animal shelter in Troutdale says it urgently needs people to adopt cats, or to foster cats (or kittens) for a couple of weeks inside their homes because the shelter is running out of space.

“Simply put, we are taking in more cats than are being adopted out, and we’re out of space,” said Multnomah County Animal Services Director Mike Oswald.

With capacity for up to 90 cats, the animal shelter has 150. They fill the various rooms at the shelter: adoption, isolation, feral, lost and sick cats.

Ann Potter, program specialist at the shelter, located at 1700 W. Columbia River Highway, explains the situation.

“It’s kitten season,” Potter said.

Kittens are being born everywhere. They enter the shelter and get adopted before adult cats, she said.

Meanwhile, adult cats are still coming in and are not getting adopted — “they get stuck,” Potter said.

Worse, other shelters and the shelter’s adoption partners, including Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood, also are at capacity.

“So we are all stuck,” Potter said, standing in the room so packed with cats and kittens up for adoption that additional crates have been pulled into the center of the room to house more animals.

Cassandra, a 12-year-old black and white cat, has been waiting to be adopted since April 26, the longest of any cat in the room.

Her chances of adoption are much slimmer compared to the others.

“A lot of people won’t adopt older cats, and agencies won’t take them if they are over 5 years old,” Potter said. The shelter is still offering its “name your own price” special for cat adoption.

Cats are held in crates for 10 days until they are moved into “isolation,” large rooms separated by glass with multiple cats in each. Next to Cassandra, a volunteer dangled a feather toy in front of another cat.

“Volunteers play with the cats to keep them de-stressed,” Potter said.

When cats get stressed, they start getting sick, she said.

The sick range from kittens born with herpes viruses and suffering oral ulcers to grown cats with respiratory problems. At the Troutdale animal shelter, that room also is full.

The animal shelter is not a “no kill” shelter. For dogs, the shelter’s live release rate is 93 percent, but the rate for cats isn’t as high. This year, the shelter has released 77 percent of its cats, up from 63 percent last year. If not adopted or fostered, the remaining are euthanized.

People have the option to foster a cat, said Potter, who as of June was keeping five crates filled with kitten litters and cats in her living room.

She is now down to taking care of one feral kitten and one cat.

Some cats that catch “colds” may just need fostering for 10-12 days while on antibiotics. They can be housed in an extra bathroom or bedroom.

The shelter also needs foster parents for shy cats, cats that need a break from the shelter, cats that require socialization or cats that are recuperating from medical treatments. Sometimes, the shelter will get a mother cat with very young, unweaned kittens, and they need a place to be together for six to nine weeks.

There are also opportunities for people to foster kittens without moms that need a safe place to grow for a few weeks before being adopted.

Meanwhile, there is a host of feral cats in cages. In the lost and found room, Fruit Loop is sick of waiting for his owner to retrieve him from the shelter. The kitten is meowing and sticking his face and paws through the bars of his crate.

“Only 2 to 3 percent of people come to find lost cats,” Potter said.

Cats and/or kittens are held up to six days before they are placed up for adoption.

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