Since, if The Aristocats is to be believed, just about everybody wants to be a cat, it should come as no surprise that there’s a hashtag-approved holiday celebrating our favorite felines, whether its an Aslan-ian king of the jungle or one of our own chunky, spoiled puddy tats.
While some people feel an innate pull toward kitties’ canine counterparts, Mental Floss reports that having a puss in your home can help you cope with the loss of a loved one, find a significant other (particularly for those who likey the ladies), sleep better, and have a healthier heart. It’s even been proven that owning a cat is more environmentally friendly than owning a dog.
On the flipside, on occasion like today also brings to fore a dark truth. According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, roughly 70 million cats live as strays nationwide. Fortunately, International Cat Day serves an important role in reversing that trend.
“These kinds of days are important for people not only to appreciate their own cats,” says Mid Hudson Animal Aid Board Member Ira Chavis, “but also the organizations and groups that support [them], whether humane societies or rescue groups.”
In light of that mission, we gathered information some of the Valley’s best kitty (and occasionally, doggy) support and rehab centers:
Starting up with a skeleton staff housing just 15 felines in Newburgh in 1990, MHAA has grown leaps and bounds in recent years. Today, 150 abused and homeless cats have made the “free-range, no kill cat sanctuary” their home until they’re able to one day find a more permanent residence with a caring owner. Until then, any and everyone is welcome at MHAA, from teeny kittens to cats with special needs, “whether they are physically handicapped, or have certain forms of feline leukemia or feline AIDS,” Chavis says. Because all of these potential pets are in need of a home, MHAA hosts adoptions seven days a week, encouraging people if they are at all willing and able to strongly consider taking an orphan cat home with them. “That’s our primary mission,” Chavis says, “We are the advocates for the cats.”
HVARS, a charity-driven shelter and animal rehabilitation center, currently houses so many kittens that it is quite literally impossible for them to take pictures of each one for their site. Most of these beauties have been pulled from a high-kill shelter in the city and were on the list to be euthanized. If you are at all interested in meeting these precious pusses, you can stop by the shelter or one of the HVARS adoption events held Saturdays at a local Petco in Poughkeepsie. HVARS also offers dental cleaning and blood work, and will soon offer X-rays to help your kitty (or doggy) friends be the healthiest and happiest they can be.
Pet ‘N’ Play is the Ritz of cat and dog boarding kennels. An award-winning, veterinary supervised pet hotel, P&P offers additional doggy daycare, grooming, and training services. Spa treatments include specialty shampoos, blueberry facials, pedicures, de-shedding treatments, pet cologne, deep conditioning, teeth brushing, flea/tick treatments, and aqua massages.
Another local gem, Hudson Valley SPCA is an active non-kill shelter that prides itself on placing animals in loving homes after the animal has first received a full medical exam and any necessary treatments, is up-to-date on all vaccinations, has been spayed or neutered, and per its mission statement, “has been loved and played with so they are ready to go home.” The site also offers a helpful guide to new owners about the best way to make their kitty feel comfortable when bringing them home.
According to leading nonprofit Alley Cat Allies, euthanasia is currently the highest documented cause of death in pounds and shelters of cats nationwide, with a staggering 72 percent of all cats entering these facilities being euthanized. For more information on how to protect our furry (and non-furry) feline friends, visit their website.