Cats take over at WAIF

It’s raining cats at the Oak Harbor WAIF shelter.

Maybe not literally, of course, but with more than 40 cats waiting for adoption at a center originally designed to hold only 20, things seem a bit more snug than usual.

WAIF Executive Director Lesley Mills said this has been the shelter’s busy time of year, especially with kitten season arriving later than usual this year.

With an additional 50 cats at the Coupeville shelter, and a further seven or eight in residence at the Cat Adoption Center/WAIF Thrift Store on Pioneer Way, nearly 100 cats on Whidbey Island are looking for good homes.

And while a cat may be the ideal Christmas gift for many children, or even adults, Mills cautions that they require a lifetime commitment.

“I think people have this attitude — not everyone, of course — but this mindset that cats can take care of themselves,” Mills said.

While it’s true that cats can be quite self-sufficent, routine veterinary care, and fresh water and food are the most basic of necessities to keep a cat happy and healthy.

That’s important, since cats can live to be 15 and even 20 years old. Fortunately, they make wonderful lifetime companions, Mills said.

Though the number of adoptable cats may seem high, Mills said the spay-and-neuter mentality of pet owners is beginning to change. More people are choosing to alter their pets, which cuts down on the cycle of unwanted puppies and kittens.

Nevertheless, with the high number of cats at the Oak Harbor shelter, it’s no surprise that during the Christmas season WAIF has stepped up its promotions to encourage more people to make the trip out to the Navy base. WAIF has operated the Oak Harbor shelter on Tulagi Avenue since April.

The cat adoption fee is currently $65, but Mills said that will increase to $75 next year when WAIF begins microchipping all incoming pets.

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