The Jefferson City Animal Shelter works with the community to stabilize the seasonal influx of felines.
The Jefferson City Animal Shelter takes in stray and unwanted animals with a wide range of medical and behavioral issues from Cole County. These cats and kittens vary in stages of age and health. They are picked up as feral cats by animal control officers, found as strays by citizens of Cole County, or brought in by their owners who no longer want them. In 2022, from May to August, the shelter took in 466 cats and kittens. The majority of animals that entered the shelter during this time were kittens.
Dealing with so many cats and kittens presents several challenges. For example, kittens must weigh 2 pounds to be adopted from the Jefferson City Animal Shelter, but most kittens that come in this time of year are underweight and not yet weaned. Whenever the kittens are taken into the shelter before being weaned, shelter staff and volunteers must supplement them nutritionally, which requires labor-intensive care. Some kittens can even have a variety of medical issues: ringworm, upper respiratory infections, and diarrhea. Some of these issues are easily treated while others require extensive treatment and care to resolve. Oftentimes during the peak of kitten season, the shelter is overcrowded, and they must find alternatives for healthy housing and care of the kittens as it can take several weeks for the kittens to gain enough weight to be eligible for adoption. To help with overcrowding, the shelter uses a network of foster families who take the kittens into their homes to help them reach their goal weight. Dealing with feral cats and kittens is another issue. They are not safe to handle, so they are housed in a separate area of the shelter. These animals are available to be adopted as barn cats at a reduced fee.
Total animal intake
Total animals adopted
Total animals returned
In addition to the care and housing of so many cats and kittens, shelter staff must also tend to the rest of the shelter’s duties. It takes an entire team to complete animal control duties, manage the front desk by answering the phone and helping visitors, keep the animal areas sanitary, and prepare for adoptions — all as the shelter’s veterinarian performs surgeries on the animals. All animals up for adoption at the Jefferson City Animal Shelter have been spayed or neutered and are current on their vaccinations.
Despite the struggles, the shelter is committed to having a positive outcome for as many animals as possible. For example, from May through August of 2022, 288 cats and kittens were adopted. To make this happen, the staff and the public had to work together. It takes a community to help pets find their forever homes. Thanks to shelter staff, the public, a dedicated group of volunteers, and a network of fostering families, these positive outcomes are made possible.
• Cats $50 • Kittens $75 • Barn cats $15 • Dogs $100 • Puppies $125
For those interested in fostering, an application can be filled out on the Jefferson City Animal Shelter website jeffersoncitymo.gov/government/animal_control.