Editorial: Looking for a lap

Almost everyone has a pet project, and lucky for some felines there are people whose project really is pets.

This summer finds Wilton’s Animals in Distress cat shelter in some distress itself. The shelter cannot accept any more cats, a not uncommon situation for no-kill shelters. It has almost as many cats in foster homes (20) as it has in its one-room building on the town hall campus (25).

The shelter receives some assistance from Cannondale Animal Clinic, which offers low-cost spaying and neutering to homeless cats as part of its rescue program. In her 12 years here, Dr. Paula Belknap estimates she has spayed or neutered some 6,000 cats. It’s almost unfathomable to think how many more would have been born if those 6,000 went untreated.

Next Saturday, Aug. 25, you can help, too, and have some fun while you’re at it. The clinic is running its “Every Dog Needs A Cat” event. You can bring your smelly, scruffy pooch in for a bath, make a donation, grab a hot dog and maybe win a prize donated by a number of pet businesses in the area. Please be generous with your donation.

The money will be used to offset what it costs the clinic to offer its spay/neuter program. Quite often, it amounts to more than just those procedures, Dr. Belknap and her associate Dr. Stephanie Boggess said. Orphaned kittens and feral cats may come to her with injuries — some that require medication or surgery — or other problems such as being infested with fleas.

“Often we don’t know what’s wrong until we put them under,” Dr. Belknap said.

Feral cats that would not make good pets are sent back to their home territory. But cats and kittens that would fit in with a family are put up for adoption with a clean bill of health. There will be a group of eligible cats available for adoption at the dog wash next Saturday. There may also be a dog rescued by the Passage East kennel on Route 7.

If adopting a pet on a permanent basis is not for you, perhaps fostering is feasible. A commitment of as little as two weeks can be very helpful to the shelter’s work.

You can read about the work at Animals in Distress and the dog wash in this week's Bulletin.