Orange County Animal Services received a $20,000 grant from Petco Love to support its Working Barn Cat initiative at a ceremony held Tuesday at Chapel Hill Petco on East Franklin Street.
Petco Assistant Manager Chris Ponder presented an oversized check to OCAS staff to commemorate the event.
Petco Love is a non-profit organization in partnership with animal welfare organizations and 1,500 Petco stores nationwide. Founded in 1999, the nonprofit has invested $300 million in adoption and medical programs, pet cancer research, and animal welfare projects like the Working Barn Cat initiative. .
Ponder said the organization is funded by Petco customers who donate at checkout.
“Petco Love invests in innovative and dedicated organizations like Orange County Animal Services who work hard to save animal lives every day,” he said.
The program neuters and vaccinates cats with the intention of returning them to outdoor environments with structures such as barns and stables. Cats adopted through the program will enjoy a safe home while controlling the rodent population within the structure.
OCAS communications specialist Tenille Fox said she was delighted to receive the program funding, as the shelter receives many kittens who need homes over the summer.
“It’s a great, non-toxic way to control rodents on a property,” she said. “These are natural instincts that these cats have, and they want to live more independently, which is why we think they would make excellent working cats as they cannot be safely handled or petted like yours. typical domestic cat.”
OCAS director Dr. Sandra Strong said OCAS always pushes the Working Barn Cat initiative to adopt less socialized cats into the program.
“They won’t necessarily be someone’s pet, but we really want to save them so they can go into a barn or some industrial property and live a healthy, happy life,” she said. . “It costs the citizens nothing, and we do all the neutering, veterinary care, vaccinations and everything.”
Fox added that the program is in partnership with Independent Animal Rescue, a Triangle-based nonprofit that works to find homes for unwanted cats and dogs.
This event comes at the end of Cat Adoption Month. The month is celebrated in June, as it is the peak of “kitten season”. This means that large litters of kittens often end up in animal shelters at the same time, joining cats already in shelters.
During the month of June, adoption fees are reduced to $55 for adult cats and $60 for kittens from the usual fees of $110 and $130, respectively.
Strong said the OCAS Barn Cat program runs year-round.
“We have more homes than we can find, so if anyone is considering getting a cat or kitten, now is the perfect time to do so,” Strong said.
Strong added that if people can’t adopt, OCAS is still looking for volunteers and adoptive parents for all the cats as well.
“We really depend on the citizens of the community to welcome them into their homes, to grow them up to be big enough and strong enough to be neutered, neutered and adopted,” she said.