The Heart of the Valley has plenty of cats at the shelter at the moment. As of Friday afternoon, the Bozeman animal shelter says it's at capacity for kittens and cats.
“So we think of our capacity as capacity of care, instead of physical capacity for these animals here,” said Kristin Sherwood, volunteer and outreach manager at Heart of the Valley.
“When a shelter has so many animals that they can’t physically attend to each animal then it gets a little stressful for the animals and the staff.”
Heart of the Valley is dedicated to making sure that doesn’t happen.
Combined between cats and dogs, the shelter aims to care for about 180 animals a day.
Staff say maintaining this number is a critical part of operations.
“In the main adopt room, you’ll only see about a third of those animals that we have at the shelter and the other two thirds are being evaluated for adoption and just working on some other enrichment activities before they’re placed on the adoption list,” said Sherwood.
Heart of the Valley sets capacity numbers for both cats and dogs to ensure all animals get the attention and love that they need.
“Being at the shelter is a very stressful environment, as you can imagine, for these animals to be in,” said Sherwood.
When the shelter reaches capacity for cats or dogs, they create a wait list for surrenders.
As of Friday, there is no longer a wait list for cats, but the shelter remains at capacity.
And while the holidays can make for a great time to add a new addition to the family, the shelter has an important reminder.
“We just want to remind people that pets are forever. So go into it with that mindset that it’s not just a gift, it is part of your household.”
The Heart of the Valley says they’re always looking for volunteers and donations to the shelter.
You can learn more about how to get involved at their website: https://heartofthevalleyshelter.org/get-involved/ways-to-give/