LEWISTON — The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society has so many adult cats and so little room left for them that over the weekend it dropped its adoption fee, offering the cats free to good homes. This week the adoption fee is back, but the shelter has slashed it nearly in half in an effort to find the animals homes. 

“We’re totally full,” Executive Director Steve Dostie said. “We’re bursting at the seams.”

The Lewiston shelter has taken in just over 1,350 cats since the beginning of the year. That’s about the same as this time last year, which was down 10 percent from the year before. But while the shelter is taking in the same number or fewer cats than it has in years past, adoptions have been slow. And many of the families that have adopted have sought kittens rather than adult cats.

“Even though, if you really think about it, adult cats are a lot easier. Kittens use the litter box but sometimes they’re not 100 percent. Adult cats are usually very clean. They’re not climbing your curtains, jumping all over your furniture and scratching up things all the time like kittens love to do,” Dostie said. 

The shelter is currently caring for about 200 cats and kittens, including about 50 in foster homes. The shelter normally charges an $85 adoption fee for each adult cat, money that helps pay for the animal’s care, spaying or neutering, shots and microchip implant. This year, for the first time, the shelter has begun waiving that charge when it needs to spur adoptions. Over the weekend, the latest fee-free days, 42 cats were adopted.

But on Monday, another 32 cats were brought in. 

The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society has now cut its adoption fee to $45 for any cat older than 6 months. That means less money coming into the shelter, but Dostie believes the temporary cut will help the animals.    

“Our main priority is finding the homes for them,” he said. “It’s a financial struggle, but we’re better off finding homes.”

The shelter has also expanded its Senior Pets for Seniors program, allowing people 55 years old and older to adopt any cat 5 years old and older for free. In the past, only certain older cats were eligible for the program.

For more information about cat adoption or the Senior Pets for Seniors program, visit www.gahumane.org or call 783-2311.

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