If you've ever thought about getting a cat, now is the time, Beaufort County Animal Control & Animal Shelter officials say.
In the past few weeks, local shelters have seen a feline influx -- in some cases, shelters are teeming with cats.
It's the middle of "kitten season," officials say. Although kittens can be born year-round, more are typically born in the spring and summer, said Amy Campanini, the executive director of Palmetto Animal League.
And this year's mild winter has meant more kitten births than usual, Campanini said.
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Although the Palmetto Animal League, Hilton Head Humane Association and Beaufort County Animal Shelter are making do right now, they can't take many more cats.
There are about 145 cats at the Hilton Head Humane Association; typically, it cares for 100, operations manager Clare Cenior said.
"We're pretty much at our max right now as far as health and safety," she said.
At Palmetto Animal League in Bluffton, about 130 of the 200 pets at the center are cats, Campanini said. The center always has more cats than dogs, she said, but lately it has seen an increase in calls from people who have found cats or need to give up their pets.
"We got enough calls last month that we could have filled (our cat space) up all over again," Campanini said.
The Beaufort County Animal Shelter also has more cats than normal -- about 184 compared to the usual 40.
Tallulah Trice, shelter director, said the employee break room has been turned into a kitten room, and other spaces are being used as needed. The shelter is seeking people to foster cats and litters of kittens until they are ready for adoption.
Both Campanini and Cenior said poor population-control methods have contributed to the influx. Too many feral cats aren't spayed or neutered, they say.
"They are everywhere. They are in every parking lot and at every restaurant," Campanini said. "And it will always be that way unless we start controlling the population effectively."