* Photo by Kageaki Smith. A kitten that was housed at the SPCA.
* Photo by Kageaki Smith. A kitten that was housed at the SPCA.
Adoptions at the SPCA went up 86 per cent over this year's Christmas holiday period compared to last year.

Between December 2008 and January 2009 there were only 35 adoptions - compared to 67 adoptions for the December 2009 and January 2010 period.

"This year the SPCA kept our adoption opportunities open to the public around the holiday season, and made an emphasis on screening adopters to prevent gift and emotive adoptions based on impulse," said SPCA Bermuda director Kimberly Sherlaw.

"Additionally the shelter presents a more welcoming and clean environment for the public to visit cats and kittens. The shelter is no longer overcrowded, dirty, with the strong odour of urine in the cat play and cage rooms.

"In this new environment the cats have room to express themselves and receive individual attention from prospective adopters and volunteers thus increasing their adoptability and quality of life.

"The article featured in the Bermuda Sun (December 11) was extremely helpful in raising the public's awareness of the cat overpopulation challenge in Bermuda and specifically the SPCA's need for adoptive homes."

Alarming rise

Back in December 2009, the SPCA reported an alarming rise in the number of "dumped kittens" at the shelter. Today there are 30 cats in the shelter, which is approximately 50 per cent capacity for the facility.

"The winter months are historically a slow period for cat/kitten admissions," Ms Sherlaw said. "However, starting in April, the numbers will rise dramatically as unaltered cats begin to breed."

In July of 2009 the shelter saw a huge influx of cats/kittens, bringing the total number to 125.

A number of cats were put down in 2009 as the shelter struggled to cope with the volume.

Ms Sherlaw added: "There is a significant lack of education and low-cost spay/neuter resources for the public. Many people are unaware of the importance of spaying or neutering your cat or simply cannot afford the $200-$400 cost of surgery.

"Additionally, the population of Bermuda cannot support the number of homeless cats hoping to be adopted, unless every home adopted multiple animals."

The SPCA was closed to adoptions on December 24, 25 and 26 and January 1.

Ms Sherlaw explained: "We are closed to adoptions over those days to discourage impulsive adopters looking to give a family member or friend or romantic interest a gift, instead of involving the individual or family in the adoptions process.

"Additionally it is a busy and often hectic time of the year, which is not always advisable for bringing a new pet into the home."

The SPCA is currently recruiting for volunteers to assist us with special events throughout the year such as Tag Day, 'socializing' with shelter animals in the afternoon, and office administration.

The Bermuda SPCA is located at 32 Valley Road, Paget, and can be reached at 236-7333.