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A cat for your habitat

Posted: August 11, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 11, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Castaic Animal Care Center volunteer Debbie Rosato displays adoptable cats. "All of these cats go along with a calm dog" and with children, said Rosato.

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Dogs may be man’s best friend, but cats are the most popular pets in America. According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are approximately 86.4 million owned cats in the United States versus 78.2 million dogs.

Debbie Rosato, a cat owner, foster and longtime volunteer at the Castaic Animal Care Center, has a feeling as to why.

“Cats are loveable. They’re cute. They’re kind of low-maintenance,” she said. “They make great pets if you have a small house or apartment.”

Since she spends so much time with the cats at the care center, Rosato has become a matchmaker of sorts when people come in looking to adopt. The center has felines ranging from fluffy little kittens to older cats longing for a lap to retire in.

“If someone doesn’t already have a cat, I suggest getting two kittens. That way you can go about your business and feel less guilty about leaving a pet at home because they have each other to play with,” Rosato said. “Kittens require more time; they’re more active.”

For those looking for a lone kitty, older felines can make for a perfect fit. “I suggest getting an adult who doesn’t mind spending time by itself or sleeping while you’re at work,” Rosato said. “If someone already has an adult cat and wants another one, I’ll usually pair it with another cat of the opposite sex that’s about the same age.”

Los Angeles County animal care centers, including Castaic, currently has a promotion called “$9 for 9 Lives” with a $9 adoption fee for any cat 9 months or older. All cats adopted under the promotion are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped.

The Found Animals Foundation-sponsored promotion started on June 1 and ends August 31; so far, 36 cats have been adopted at the Castaic location as a result.

“Cats need extra help getting adopted because summertime is our busiest season, right in the middle of what has become known as kitten season,” said Evelina Villa, public information officer for the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care & Control. “Adult cats have a hard time, since they have to compete with cute, small kittens, making their chances of adoption slimmer.”

At just 1-and-a-half years old, Dottie, a beautiful tortoise, falls under the adult category and qualifies for the $9 adoption pricing.

According to Rosato, Dottie would make a good companion for any adult or a family with children 8 years old and up. “Dottie’s very nice. She’s the not demanding type looking for attention when you’re on the computer. She just likes to sit and be petted,” Rosato said. “Dottie’s a very friendly girl and would even get along with a calm dog in the house.”

Adoption fees for cats younger than 9 months start at $90, though that price is reduced by half once a cat has been at the care center for more than 10 days.

Two adorable young black kitten siblings, who are about 4 months old, are trying to find a home together. As Rosato illustrated, they would be a wonderful addition to a family with young children.

“These kittens are really playful. They go crazy for a feather wand, yet they like to be held when they’re in sleeping or relaxation mode. Kids can pick them up and hug or hold them,” she said.

Rosato stated that cats at the care center are litter trained before they leave, though a refresher course may be in order once a cat is in a home.

“I always suggest showing your cat or kitten their litter box right away. They need to know where it’s at. Otherwise, they might go on the furniture,” she said.

Short-haired cats can be easier for those with allergic tendencies, while long-haired cats require more extensive grooming. Rosato suggested brushing cats regularly and to clean ceiling fans or walls at least once a week if anyone in the home suffers from allergies.

“I have allergies, and I live with cats,” she said. “I just have the humidifier on every night.”

Have any questions? Rosato is happy to help.

“I love for people to come to the shelter and match them up with their perfect kitty,” she said. “Anytime you want to see a cat or kitten, I will meet you there.”

The Castaic Animal Care Center is located at 31044 N. Charlie Canyon Road, Castaic. Shelter hours are Monday through Thursday, noon to 7 p.m.; Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed holidays. For more information, call 661- 257-3191 or visit animalcare.lacounty.gov. To make an appointment with Debbie Rosato, call 661-803-1842.

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