PARIS — The Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat and Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer were a very notorious couple of cats. You ought to know Mr. Mistoffelees! The Original Conjuring Cat and Jellicle Cats are black and white, They are resting and saving themselves … For the Jellicle Moon and the Jellicle Ball.

Some kitties are so relaxed they just slide into comfort on Molly Poland’s lap. Megan Campbell

T. S. Elliot certainly knew cats and many of these cats can be found right here in Paris.

As of last week, there were 98 cats in need of homes at Responsible Pet Care of Oxford Hills.

“This has been the biggest kitten (and dog) year in 20 years nationwide,” explained Mitch Shaw, RPC’s interim director. He said it was due to a number of things but mostly COVID which kept businesses including veterinarians, closed, folks at home and incomes, in many cases, lost. Spaying and neutering animals is expensive. While there have been many adoptions – and in RPC’s case all animals adopted have been altered – there has been little spaying and neutering, he explained.

Now that COVID restrictions have eased, vets are backlogged with their own patients and few have any time open to accept animals from RPC.

“We have 47 waiting to get spayed/neutered,” said Shaw. “We only have eight – 10 scheduled. A month ago we had 40 that we were able to get spayed/neutered.”

Norway vet, Don McLean, has done a few, he noted, and Norway Animal Hospital will call and say they have a slot. “One day they called and said they had 15 slots in one day! Everyone else is slammed.”

However, RPC has found some relief at Gray Animal Center. “Dr. Kinney has been wonderful,” said Shaw, “he fits us in whenever he can.”

In the month of July, 45 cats were adopted, leaving 98 still waiting for a home. In addition to adopting, RPC is also in need of homes that will foster kittens until they are ready to be adopted.

While foster families can foster-to-adopt, the animals technically belong to RPC until they have had all their shots and are spayed or neutered.

Back to normal

COVID wreaked havoc with RPC’s ability to process adoptions and fostering families. It shut down its public operations to focus on caring for the animals.

“Now that we are getting back in operation,” said Shaw, “we are trying to rebuild our volunteer base. We lost so many [volunteers] during COVID and we are short staffed, but we are trying to return calls and we now have hours when we are open to the public.”

Animals come to RPC from all over, said Shaw. “We nurse them back to health. A lot of them are malnourished.”

Volunteers are needed for dog walking, dog enrichment, to spend time with the cats, front office help and yard work.

Shaw noted a number of the dogs they have now, came from families that found themselves homeless after COVID and couldn’t properly care for their pet.

RPC staff member Molly Poland, 18, or West Paris, sits with some of the many cats waiting for homes in the community room at RPC in Paris. Megan Campbell

Cats, cats, and more cats

Cats waiting for families and homes include kittens, senior cats, and adults cats. There are calico cats (cats with tri-color coats), black cats, torties (cats named for their bi-color coat that resembles a tortoise), tabby cats (cats with an “M” shape on their foreheads), orange, gray and white cats. Most are domestic short hairs but there are a few with long hair, Shaw said.

These cats are healthy, have been spayed or neutered, are up to date on their shots and some have been through various surgeries or treatments to help them back to health.

Anyone willing to adopt one of these kitties can visit RPC and meet the cats, fill out an adoption application and take their new family member home.

RPC is currently open either by appointment on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

T.S. Elliot

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