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RHSPCA in need of homes for cats in Barn Cat Program

In the Shenandoah Valley, there’s a high number of stray, feral cats. Huck Nawaz, with Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA says, these cats see a surge of birth rates in the Spring bringing many more strays into the shelter.
Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 5:59 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Spring officially starts on Saturday, March 20, and that means we can expect to see more baby animals around.

In the Shenandoah Valley, there’s a high number of stray, feral cats. Huck Nawaz, with Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA says, these cats see a surge of birth rates in the Spring bringing many more strays into the shelter.

To create room ahead of the seasonal rush, the shelter is looking now for people to adopt through it’s Barn Cat Program.

The program began in August 2020, with a grant from the Petco Foundation. It’s designed to be mutually beneficial for both the cats and adopters. The barn cats are spayed/neutered and vaccinated, and cats are given a crate for the first few weeks and a week’s worth of food.

Nawaz says as of the end of February 2021, 60 cats have been adopted out of the program, but the shelter still has several looking for homes.

He says the perfect candidate to adopt would be someone with a home located away from busy roads, who has shelter for the cat such as a barn or shed, and someone who can feed the cat. While they do hunt, they can not survive on just that, so an owner will need to regularly provide food and water. The owner also would need to provide proper medical care for the cat when needed.

While feral cats are not meant to be sociable pets, Nawaz says they are still a great addition to your home.

“The best way to describe it, is that it’s really just eco-friendly pest control,” Nawaz said. “Same with cats and kittens being born in the Spring, there’s a surgence of mice and voles and critters outdoors that people may not want on their property getting into feed and gardens and things too. So these cats, having lived outdoors, have retained the hunting instinct to be able to help out with that.”

The adoption fee is $25, and the shelter encourages adoptions in pairs, because barn cats thrive in each others company.

Currently, this program is only for county residents. To learn more, visit RHSPCA website.

It is important to note: The video used in this story, includes some cats not involved in this specific Barn Cat program. To check availability of adoptable animals, you should visit RHSPCA website. Outside of the Barn Cat program, the shelter does have many cats and kittens available for adoption also. Adoption fees on non-barn cats are $50 for adults and $100 for kittens.

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