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Cat-mania grips shelters in the Denver area

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Spring and Summer is cat time.

When the days grow longer and warmer, cats are out and about and multiplying. The phenomenon is known as "kitten season," when thousands of newborn felines jam shelters across the country.

And even though there are more cats in American homes than dogs (74,059,000 to 69,926,000, according to the American Humane Association(www.aha.org)), animal welfare organizations are trying everything possible to find homes for more.

The Foothills Animal Shelter, for example, has launched a "Feline Frenzy" all of this week. Cat adoptions will be free. This event dovetails into the Golden shelter's competition for a $100,000 prize from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(www.aspca.org). Foothills is one of 50 shelters in the nation trying to save the greatest number of animals during the competition period.

Meanwhile, the Cat Care Society is getting ready for two of its signature summer events.

The first is this Saturday's Festival of Felines, a family event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lakewood shelter. Activities will include face-painting, hourly giveaways, refreshments, a sketch artist, tours of the veterinary clinic and shopping at the Meow Mart.

The second event is the 2014 Tails of the Painted Cats Gala Dinner & Auction at Pinehurst Country Club on Saturday, July 26. The Painted Cats are feline figurines painted in bright and whimsical styles, which will be auctioned at the dinner. Tickets are on sale(www.catcaresociety.org).

The biggest Summer event is Cat Fest, a celebration of all things feline at the Dumb Friends League Quebec Street shelter on Saturday, July 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event typically draws thousands of visitors. Go to(www.ddfl.org) for more information.

The goal of all this cat-mania is to find homes for homeless felines. For those thinking of taking one home, the American Humane Association( which has proclaimed June as adopt a shelter cat month), offers these tips:

1-If you’re thinking about adopting a cat, consider taking home two. Cats require exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. Two cats can provide this for each other.

2-Find a cat whose personality meshes with yours. Just as we each have our own personality, so do cats. Adoption counselors can offer advice.

3-Pick out a veterinarian ahead of time and schedule a visit within the first few days following the adoption.

4-Make sure everyone in the house is prepared to have a cat before it comes home. Visiting the shelter or animal control facility should be a family affair.

5 - Budget for the short- and long-term costs of a cat. Understand any pet is a responsibility and there’s a cost associated with that.

6 - Stock up on supplies before the cat arrives. Be prepared so your new cat can start feeling at home right away.

7-Cat-proof your home. A new cat will quickly teach you not to leave things lying out.

8 - Go slowly when introducing your cat to new friends and family. It can take several weeks for a cat to relax in a new environment.

9 - Be sure to include your new pet in your family’s emergency plan.

10 - If you’re considering giving a cat as a gift, make sure the recipient is an active participant in the adoption process.

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