Area shelters, stuffed with cats, need adopters

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Portland area shelters, stuffed with cats, desperately need help.

The Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland, a coalition of nine organizations, appealed to the public on Tuesday take a feline home.

"If you are thinking of adopting, now is the time," said Sharon Harmon, executive director of the Oregon Humane Society. "We have cats in all colors, sizes and personalities."

Five area shelters — Oregon Humane Society, the Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter, Multnomah County Animal Services, Cat Adoption Team and Humane Society for Southwest Washington — are currently caring for more than 1,200 cats and kittens, and every day people arrive with more.

It's kitten season, when felines proliferate.

"Summer is crunch time for us," said Britta Bavaresco, co-founder of the coalition.

In the past three years, the coalition has spayed or neutered about 35,000 felines. That's helped to stem intakes. The shelters also transfer animals amongst themselves to relieve overcrowding. The Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood has stopped accepting felines from the public to help out other shelters, like Bonnie L. Hays, which has cats stacked in crates in its lobby.

The alliance is doing what it can, Bavaresco said, but now the public needs to step up.

"Saving lives is a community effort," said Lisa Feder, operations director at the Humane Society for Southwest Washington. "We need the public to help us achieve a community where cats can receive the help they need and the home they deserve."