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Kittens clog county shelter

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They found her near the Paso Robles Airport, unfettered and alone. Collected with others of her kind, she’s lived in a small cage in the corner of a bare concrete room at the county animal shelter for weeks.

She barely raised her head when a New Times reporter tried to rouse her interest on a recent afternoon. She breathed faintly and stared out past her visitor at the wall of cages filled with felines on the other side of the room, heavy with quiet except for an occasional faint meow and the strains of a mournful Bach cello suite drifting in from a loudspeaker in the hall outside.

The months-old kitten doesn’t have a name, only a number, and her chances of adoption are less than those of other cats around her; she has a coat of black hair, and kitten adopters tend to reject black cats. There are many like the black kitten in the shelter, none of them realizing their lives are hanging on a thread.

It’s a bad time to be a homeless kitten. The shelter has been overwhelmed with animals lately—especially cats, since it’s “kitten season.” Spring until the end of summer is a prime birthing time for cats, and many of the county’s kittens wind up at the shelter.

This is not good for kittens. Many go into the shelter. Fewer come out.

“They are killing cats every day,” a volunteer said sadly. She was cleaning out cages and didn’t want to be identified. “Kittens, too.”

Four nameless kittens in another cage (C-2-14) piled together in a corner for warmth. One by one they emerged from their crowded corner and padded out to look at a New Times reporter, took in the stranger, then rejoined the others.

The shelter has more than 197 cats listed on its website and many of them are kittens. Many cats, including those described above, weren’t listed on the website.

There were only a few visitors at the shelter when New Times visited. All of them left without any animals.

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