“I’m saving a life,” said Buyny, who cares for nine permanent felines of her own. “Fostering saves lives and for me that is so rewarding. I just love cats; they are so full of personality. They make wonderful pets.”
It’s hard to imagine anything cuter than a frisky, purring furball of fluff, but the Antioch-based program currently has an overflow of kittens in its coffers – so many that they’re holding a sale.
“We currently have about 65 kittens in the program that we want to get adopted,” said HARP President Karen Kops, “so we came up with the idea for the sale, where people can come in and basically name their price. And if they seem like a positive fit, the cat or kitten is theirs.”
HARP fosters approximately 200 cats and kittens annually – dogs as well – and works through its volunteer families to find them permanent homes. The organization ensures the animals are spayed or neutered, remain up to date on immunizations and are implanted with a microchip for identification purposes. No animal is ever destroyed, and can remain in the foster system permanently if necessary.
Although kitten season occurs in early summer, Kops said the abundance of kittens in late fall is due in part to the tepid economy. “I think because things are so difficult right now, people are not able to afford a pet, and many are trying to find them new homes,” said Kops. “The shelters are very full.”
Buyny blames the overflow of kittens on another reason. “It’s because people don’t spay and neuter their animals,” said Buyny. “And if you combine that with people who just leave their cats behind, or abandon them, then it becomes cats-squared. I don’t know how people can just walk away from their pet and not get that stomach ache, but they do.”
Kops said of the 65 felines currently available, a large number of them are black. And with Halloween on the horizon, the centuries-old symbol of the season might spur the adoptions along.
“It’s true that some people are superstitious about black cats, but we believe in celebrating them in all their glory,” said Kops, who has two black housecats of her own. “They’re beautiful, wonderful animals.”
While HARP’s current cat sale is kitten-heavy, Kops said plenty of adult cats also need homes: “There are real benefits to owning an older cat. The foster families that have lived with them are very familiar with their personalities and can give people a better idea of what they’re like. For example, are they lap cats or more stand-offish? Those kinds of things. We really encourage people to look at adult cats.
“Cats live a long time – 20 years on average – so missing the first few months of a cat’s life doesn’t make much difference. All cats deserve good homes.”
The cat sale is underway and will be an ongoing event until all the animals are adopted. Upcoming sale events are held at the following times and locations: • Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. at the Pittsburg Petsmart, 4655 Century Blvd. • Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. at the Antioch Petsmart, 5879 Lone Tree Way in the Slatten Ranch Shopping Center. • Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. at Pet Food Express, 5829 Lone Tree Way in Antioch.
For more information, call 925-431-8546 or visit www.harp-rescue.org.