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HSGC combats overpopulation with cat sale

Each spring, staff at the Humane Society of Goodhue County expect an influx of kittens that stretches into the fall before the cold weather hits. Despite a late start to “kitten season” this year, the shelter’s cat population swelled from 15 to about 50 cats in the span of two and a half weeks in June.

“The more cats you have in the building, the harder it is for the staff because it takes so much more time to clean every cage,” said Anna Ostendorf, director at the HSGC. “The more stressful it is for the cats, the more likely it is that they’re going to get sick. So, it’s just not good for anyone to have an overabundance of cats in a smaller space.”

To combat the overwhelming numbers, HSGC offers a discounted cat and kitten fee of $50 compared to the usual rates ranging from $100 to $150. The sale so far has facilitated the adoption of 30 feline friends in July, plenty of cats and kittens at the shelter are still seeking for a permanent home.

Despite the lowered adoption fee — which still includes the necessary vaccinations and spaying/neutering the animals — Ostendorf said shelters in rural communities can struggle to compete with offers of free kittens from a pet’s litter or abundance of farm cats.

“It’s easier to think of getting the free kitten now and being able to afford whatever it needs down the road, but before you know it, that kitten is coming into sexual maturity, going into heat, starting to spray in the house,” she said. “People don’t expect having to pay $300 to go get a cat spayed, and so they don’t, and their cat has kittens, which come right back here.”

For those considering adopting a cat during the sale, Ostendorf encourages future pet-owners to evaluate what they are looking for in a cat and discuss with shelter staff which animal would be the best fit for them.

“What type or personality are you looking for?,” she said. “Do you want a cat that’s going to cuddle with you all the time and demand attention when you get home, or do you want a cat that does its own thing, curls up on the end of the couch and is self-sufficient? Think through what kind of personality you’re looking for.”

If adoption is not an option at this time, donations of food, litter, paper towels, cleaning supplies and money all help the shelter meet the needs of its furry guests. Ostendorf also emphasized that pet owners can help combat the community’s cat overpopulation by spaying and neutering their pets.

“When you have a cat that goes into heat or a male cat that starts spraying in your house, it’s really annoying,” she said. “They’re really obnoxious behaviors, so people tend to kick them outside. When they do that, then they’re out there meeting each other and more kittens are born. I love kittens, and they’re super fun, but we have more than enough kittens.”

To see a list of adoptable pets, or for more information about adopting an animal from the Humane Society of Goodhue County, visit or stop by the shelter at 1213 Brick Ave.