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Stray cats flood Humane Society

Ezra and Zula, female tabby kittens, are just two of several felines up for adoption at the Humane Society of Goodhue County. A late-season rise in the number of stray cats being picked up has put the shelter near capacity. (Republican Eagle photo by Michael Brun)

A surge in stray cats at the Humane Society of Goodhue County means there are a lot of animals looking for homes, but staff ask that adopters consider the responsibility before getting one as a gift.

The number of strays being picked up this late in the year is not typical, HSGC Executive Director Anna Ostendorf said.

“All of the shelters and rescues have just been inundated with cats,” she said. “Usually we slow down earlier in the fall, but right now we’re still at capacity.”

It is unknown why there are so many strays this season, but Ostendorf said one theory is that weather may have affected cats’ heat cycles leading to more births.

A total of 47 adult cats and kittens were picked up or brought to HSGC last month, 18 more than the same time last year, according to shelter records.

A majority of the animals came from the Red Wing area, which has faced a stray cat problem for many years, Ostendorf said.

Looking to adopt

More than a dozen cats are up for adoption now, Ostendorf said, with more becoming available in time for the holidays as several kittens grow old enough.

Before adopting a pet as a family gift, it is important to first determine that everyone is ready for the long-term commitment, Ostendorf said.

“As long as it’s done with the intention that the animal will be a part of the family for life — not just for Christmas — then we’re totally fine with people adopting,” she said. “But they still need to make sure it’s a good fit.”

During the adoption processes, HSGC checks to see if animals are allowed at the prospective owner’s property and that other pets in the home are vaccinated and spayed or neutered.

“Having animals altered is a big part of our mission to control the pet population,” Ostendorf said, “We would rather have people spend the money to get their current animals spayed or neutered before adding another one.”

If considering adopting a pet for someone outside of the immediate family, Ostendorf said she recommends giving a Humane Society gift certificate instead. That way the person receiving the pet can make sure they get along with it before bringing it home.

“We certainly encourage people to meet the animals,” she said. “They all have different personalities.”

Animals can be seen 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the HSGC office, 1213 Brick Ave.

Photos, descriptions and adoption fee information also can be found online at

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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