Summer – A Shelter’s Perfect Storm

July is typically considered the craziest, busiest month for animal shelters and rescues.  Summer in general sees a lot of animals coming in (and hopefully, also going out the front door in large numbers, too!).  Why?  There are actually several factors at play for this “perfect storm”:

Trap/Neuter/Release Programs – if the shelter has a TNR program, they are BUSY right now.  Summer is the “busy” season for animals who are feral (or possibly stray).  Their food sources are active, it’s the time to mate, and the weather makes it easier for them to be out and about.  Traps are filling up quick this time of year, and surgical rooms are packed with animals getting fixed.

Fireworks/summer thunderstorms – summer brings about a lot of activity, including the mid-summer fireworks and lots of summer storms.  Both can be upsetting for pets, who may spook enough to run away from home.  The day after the Fourth of July is actually notorious for being the biggest day of stray intake for shelters.  Make sure to check local shelters regularly if you loose a pet, and check the entire area, not just your one town.  Spooked animals can go pretty far when they get lost.

“Kitten Season” – summer also brings about kittens.  Lots of them.  Cats breed around the same time, bringing about ALL the kittens starting in May each year.  That number just keeps rising until the weather cools off, so shelters are getting packed with cats and kittens this time of year.  Guaranteed your local shelter is doing some kind of adoption special on cats right now, because they have so many that need homes and they need to make room for more.

Loose Pets – when the weather gets better, people tend to not contain their pets as much.  Less leashes, more running down trails, and more letting them outside without keeping an eye on them.  Unfortunately, this leads to more strays as pets can spook, chase something, or just get lost and don’t know how to get home.  And with cats, people tend to not look for them when they don’t come home (which is super tragic… many lost cats DO end up at a shelter, but rarely do they get reclaimed).  This leads to more animals in their stray hold, and more animals up for adoptions when they don’t get reclaimed.

So, the lesson to be learned here is:  if you were thinking of adopting a pet, volunteering at your local shelter, maybe supporting them with a donation… now is the time to do it!  Shelters and rescues across the country need YOU to support them while these crazy summer months are happening.  Get out there and help!

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