Searching for the perfect four-legged companion can be a daunting task. From deciding what breed to take home and to determining the best time for house training before adopting their critter. At times where the challenges are too great, there are those who will give up their animals. Now that the holiday season is over and spring has begun, those working on staff at N.A.W.S. of Mokena notice a trend to watch: kitten season.
Wendy Paul, manager and cat adoption coordinator at NAWS of Mokena, said she thinks what is most notable about pet adoptions moving from the holiday season to spring is the rise of kitten season.
“With spring coming, there’s an increase in the amount of puppies and kittens that are being born,” she said. “We really stress the importance of spaying and neutering your pets, which is what we do with on our vet side, our vet clinic. We try to get as many animals spayed and neutered, trying to keep so many unwanted pets out of rescues and shelters.”
The common misconception people may hold about the holiday season is that at this time, pet adoptions may be higher compared to other times of the year. Paul negated the idea explaining how interest generated doesn’t always equate to an adoption.
“A lot of rescues and shelters you know are actually more cautious adopting out at the holidays,” she said.
In noting the numbers of animals flowing in and out the rescue center on a regular basis, Paul said the holiday season poses some difficulties for those on staff.
“What you see more around the holidays is unfortunately owner give ups for financial reasons and things like that,” she said. “Depending on the time of year, depending on the kinds of give-ups, [these] are increases that you’ll see.”
She added that springtime brings its own share of challenges into the picture.
“Spring we actually get an influx of what they call kitten season,” she said. “Spring there’s kittens everywhere and people are just trying to drop them off at the door, so the kittens actually increase the amount that we take in the spring because we actually take in more.”
In 2015, NAWS of Mokena found new homes for 300 dogs and puppies through adoptions.
The rescue center also adopted out 364 cats and kittens last year.
At maximum capacity, the rescue center can hold 24-30 dogs and puppies. As for cats and kittens, their facilities can house as many as 30-50.
“This year, we’re on target to do more [cat adoptions],” she said.
In response to why NAWS of Mokena might see an increase in adoptions this year, but that idea depends on the organization’s community involvement and the extension of its reach.
“We have more exposure this year,” she said. “We started going out a little bit farther because we’ve been around for just about 10 years. You know this area is actually pretty saturated with shelters and rescues and things like that, so we’ve expanded our area.”
Paul said in the end, finding the perfect pet for a prospective individual or family to adopt is not only about what the owner desires but also the needs and wants of the animal.
“The animal kind of picks you sometimes,” she said. “You walk in door thinking you know you want this kind of dog and the one that steals your heart is generally a whole different dog.”
The hope, according to Paul, is that people remain open-minded about what it means to provide a home for a pet.