Sisters Joanie (L) and Sylvia (R) were among 30 cats and kittens put up for adoption by CARES on the weekend in Langley. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

UPDATE: Langley cat shelter finds homes for 21 (with video)

C.A.R.E.S “flooded” with homeless cats, unable to accept new placements

A weekend adopt-a-thon by the Canadian Animal Rescue and Extended Shelter (C.A.R.E.S) in Langley found homes for 21 cats and kittens and put the shelter one step closer to re-opening its intakes.

“We’re getting there” C.A.R.E.S. president Carol Briner said following the event at the PetSmart store on the Langley Bypass.

“If we can find homes for five or six adult cats,” we could open again, she said.

The shelter normally houses between 65 and 70 cats.

Right now, there are nearly 90 adult cats staying there and another 30 to 40 kittens in temporary foster homes while they await placement.

Unless it is an emergency situation, C.A.R.E.S. doesn’t have room, Briner said.

“We are flooded.”

Archive of Langley Times live video feed from Saturday event:

C.A.R.E.S is a no-kill shelter, so cats will stay as long as it takes to find a place, some for years.

C.A.R.E.S was formed in 1993 when a group of animal lovers wanted a shelter for stray, abandoned and unwanted cats.

​​In February of 1998, C.A.R.E.S. began an alliance with PetSmart in Langley.

Rescued cats get quality food, shelter and veterinary care.

From February 1998 to December 2013, C.A.R.E.S estimates it has adopted out over 6000 cats from the Langley location.

Sept. 15 to 17 is PetSmart Charities of Canada’s National Adoption Weekend, an event where PetSmart works with animal welfare organizations to find homes for adoptable cats and dogs.

All 128 PetSmart locations across Canada, including the one at 20015 Langley Bypass, are participating.

The Langley store is working with Embrace a Discarded Animal Society and C.A.R.E.S. during the promotion, which will resume Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All Canadian shelters are struggling with what the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) called “Canada’s Cat Overpopulation Crisis” in a report issued in March.

“Every year, the population of homeless cats grows, and more and more cats flow into already crowded animal shelters,” the report said.

“Shelters … are overwhelmed with the number of cats in crisis.”

It estimated that less than half of cats admitted to shelters are adopted.

“Many never make it to a shelter, and die painful deaths outside.”

The report lists six ways people can help:

ADOPT.

Adopt a cat from an animal shelter or animal rescue group.

FOSTER.

Give a temporary home to a cat in need by volunteering to foster cats or kittens for a local humane society, SPCA or cat rescue group.

“By fostering, you save two lives: one of the cat you foster (who might not have survived in the stressful shelter environment), and one of the animal who benefits from an extra space freed up in the shelter.”

SPAY OR NEUTER YOUR CAT.

If your cat isn’t spayed or neutered, ask yourself: can you guarantee that each and every kitten your cat might produce will end up in a secure, permanent home?

ID YOUR CAT.

By giving your cat permanent identification such as a microchip and a tag with your address and contact information, you dramatically decrease the risk that she could become lost and never found.

DONATE.

“The problem we face is deep and it’s complicated.” the report said.

ADVOCATE FOR CATS.

Write letters to local government representatives and urge them to pass by-laws that encourage or require residents to register, ID and spay or neuter their cats.

RELATED: Grant will help C.A.R.E.S. cover spay/neuter costs for Langley-area cat owners

dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com