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Little Guild special: All cats must go

CORNWALL — The Little Guild is having a clearance sale. All cats must go.If that sounds inhumane, nothing could be further from the truth. The cat and dog rescue shelter is already over its ideal capacity for felines, and this is the time of year when demand is high for a warm place for strays. And amend that to say: All cats will only be given to a good home.“So many people out there are trying to help by feeding stray cats, and giving them a garage or some other place for shelter. Now, we are overwhelmed with calls for cats out in the cold,” said Denise Cohn, executive director of the West Cornwall shelter. “We need to make room, and we know there are many people out there willing to help.”For the first time, the Guild is taking part in $5 Felines, a nationwide promotion by the Best Friends Animal Society. It is a way to help the organization’s goal of No More Homeless Pets.The Little Guild’s standard application process and good “matchmaking” efforts remain part of the process. The $5 adoption donation is an extreme reduction from the usual $150, which offsets the average $400 cost for taking an animal into the shelter. Many have to be spayed or neutered, all are vet-checked, treated and inoculated as needed and microchipped. Between Nov. 26 and Dec. 3 (excluding Monday and Tuesday), noon to 4 p.m., all are invited to come and meet the adoptable cats and kittens. The staff can answer questions about the cats’ personalities and can point out any special needs they might have. Any cat is just $5. At that price, why not get two?As of late last week, the shelter had 27 cats and kittens, with 22 of them ready and waiting.For a cat or dog, the Little Guild is not a bad place to be. Dogs have roomy kennels and an outdoor play yard. Cats lounge on cushy kitty beds and climb carpet-covered “trees” in visitor-friendly rooms. But it’s not the same as bonding with an individual or family. There are no long walks or sleeping knees to curl up behind on a cold winter night.There are often litters of kittens from which to choose two playful fur balls that will keep each other amused and provide endless entertainment.Cohn said the economy has resulted in a nationwide drop in pet adoptions of about 40 percent. “At the Little Guild, the dog adoption rate is actually up about 66 percent, and cats are only down slightly. We are the only shelter I know of that has not seen a big decrease.” She attributes it to the great conditions of their animals, thanks to generous donations toward their budget for medical care and facility maintenance; to volunteers who do chores and offer the attention the animals crave; and a high adoption success rate that comes from carefully matching animal personalities with individuals and families.Communication is also important. The Guild reaches out on Facebook, Petfinder and through its own regularly updated website. Applications can be completed at the Guild or online. Potential adopters are urged to do so in advance of choosing a pet, so that the cats and dogs can be placed in their new homes as quickly as possible.Yes, each cat that goes out the door at $5 represents a loss of income to the shelter, but it doesn’t matter, Cohn said.“Our mission is to help as many animals as we can. For every cat that is adopted, two lives are saved, because it makes room for us to take another cat in.”Best Friends Animal Society is a nonprofit organization and sanctuary based in Kanab, Utah. It provides extras such as networking for those who are trying in various ways to save animals, and trained emergency response teams to rescue animals in disaster situations. Its mission is to eliminate homeless pets and kill programs.

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