Two NYC Cats Symbolize the Success of Adopt a Shelter Cat Month Events
Thirty-six cats and kittens from the ASPCA were among the animals adopted during the first weekend in June, most as a result of the ASPCA’s participation in three New York City offsite adoption events that kicked off Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. Two dogs also found new homes.
At one of the events on June 4, the ASPCA joined more than 20 participating organizations at Petco Love’s “Paws in the Park” event in Manhattan’s Union Square, where 300 animals were available for adoption. The event also helped promote Petco Love Lost, a program that reunites lost pets with their owners.
“We need to get these animals out of shelters and into homes where they belong,” said ASPCA CEO Matt Bershadker, who welcomed potential adopters alongside Petco Love President Susanne Kogut and Petco Director of Lifesaving Chelsea Staley. “We’re grateful for Petco Love’s support and partnership, which enables us to participate in adoption events like this year-round.”
Among the 31 adopted cats at Paws in the Park was Clarence, a two-month-old kitten who has the distinction of being the ASPCA Kitten Nursery’s first neonate of 2023. The eldest animal available was McQueen, a 14-year-old feline and the last cat adopted from the ASPCA that day.
“I love how the public reacts to these pets,” said Raisa Hernandez, Transport Coordinator for the ASPCA Adoption Center. Raisa drove adoptable animals to the events and made a second trip to supply more cats so the ASPCA team could place pets like McQueen until the very last minute on Sunday. “These babies are a source of joy and hope in the eyes of so many.”
Clarence was barely 10 days old and weighed 220 grams—as little as a cup of sugar—when he was cleared in early April for transport to the Kitten Nursery from New York City Animal Care Centers (NYC ACC).
“Last season we took in about 800 kittens, mostly from NYC ACC, and the majority were cared for in more than 300 foster homes,” says Gemma Smith, Administrative Manager of the Kitten Nursery. “We also reached the milestone of caring for our 10,000th kitten and have noted an increase of neonates like Clarence as we continue this work.”
On April 9, Niki K., an ASPCA foster caregiver since 2018, took Clarence home for several weeks, bottle-feeding him every five hours and helping him recover from an upper respiratory infection.
“He was energetic and likes being around people,” says Niki, whose work schedule gives her the flexibility to foster tiny kittens.
Niki’s two adopted cats—Tamale and Mishka—get along with the multiple kittens Niki fosters each season. With Clarence, Tamale took on the role of a fatherly socializer, while Mishka gladly finished off his leftovers, though Clarence gained weight steadily in Niki’s care.
Emmy S. visited the Paws in the Park event to adopt a cat for herself and her roommate.
“I waited nearly two hours to meet Clarence,” Emmy says. “He was the smallest little man I’ve ever seen in my life. I was so lucky no one adopted him by the time it was my turn to meet him. It was love at first sight.”
Emmy, a product manager for a luxury brand, lives in Astoria with a cat named Josephine, whom she’s waiting to introduce to Clarence. She gave Clarence a new name: Binx.
“He's the perfect kitten,” she says. “My roommate cried when she met him. And they even share a birthday, March 26. We’ve all fallen in love.”
Annarose H., a theater box office manager who works weekends, didn’t arrive at the Paws in the Park event until 5:30 P.M. Sunday, a half-hour before closing time, but she was determined to adopt a kitten.
Instead, she fell in love with 14-year-old McQueen, the last cat available at the ASPCA. McQueen had undergone major dental and jaw surgery and is also arthritic.
“They were packing up when I asked to meet her,” says Annarose. “I held her, and she was super cuddly. I thought, ‘This poor baby.’ When I learned she’d had jaw surgery, I said, ‘I’ve had jaw surgery, too.’ It was like we were meant to be together.”
Annarose, a lifelong cat lover who once skipped her fourth-grade math class so she could adopt a shelter cat for her tenth birthday, has another 14-year-old cat, Sealey. She’s introducing the two slowly, optimistic that Sealey and McQueen—now called Salome—will get along.
“McQueen’s adoption was the highlight of our day,” says Ruth Allen, ASPCA Director of Admissions and Placement. “We returned to the ASPCA that night with an empty truck. That was a very bright spot.”
The ASPCA placed a total of 129 cats and kittens in new homes during June. Thanks to everyone who supported Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat month!