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Kitten Festival aims to save cats from death row

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The Española Valley Humane Society is hosting the 6th Annual Santa Fe Kitten Festival July 27-28. It is the largest cat adoption event in New Mexico.

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The event will include cats from five other shelters around Northern New Mexico and all around the state, which plan to pull cats and kittens from the euthanasia lists to save more lives than ever this year. The goal is the rescue more than 100 doomed felines.

The festival will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., July 27 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., July 28 at PetSmart, 3561 Zafarano Drive in Santa Fe.

The Española shelter, though struggling with its own intake numbers, knows that hundreds of cats and kittens are at risk of euthanasia from overcrowding, so staff is making room this week to take in more from Gallup, Carlsbad and Las Cruces.

Española Valley Humane Society started the Santa Fe Kitten Festival six years ago to cope with the overflow of kittens that occurs each year as a result of a long breeding season in the region and an ongoing nationwide struggle with feline overpopulation.

While the shelter offers feline spay and neuter for free, cats often breed faster than community members bring them in. “Someone’s cat has a litter and they think that it’s not a big deal if they find homes for the kittens,” Shelter Manager Lisa Gipe said, “But in just a few years, two cats can literally become thousands, and the problem spirals out of control very quickly.” It is not uncommon for the shelter to receive more than a dozen kittens in a single day in July.

PetSmart Charities recognized the need for assistance in the area and is sponsoring the event this year, allowing adoption fees to be dropped to $25 for one kitten or a pair for $40, with cats more than 5 years old available for free.

All felines at the event have already been spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

In addition, adopters will receive a full size bag of ProPlan cat, or kitten food, a cat carrier, a collar, a check-up at VCA-Arrighetti Animal Hospital and a bag full of samples, gifts, coupons and goodies.

“Every year, Española Valley Humane Society helps so many cats from this area,” PetSmart manager Kyle Amos said, “It is awesome to think that this year, they are going to be able to save lives from overcrowded shelters down south too.”

Española Valley Humane is the only open-door animal shelter in Rio Arriba County. The nonprofit organization provides low-cost spay/neuter, vaccination, humane education and adoption services, and is funded primarily through private donations.