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National Shelter Appreciation Week runs from November 1 – 7. Now, more than ever, shelters need our help to save adoptable pets.

Even if you aren’t in a position to adopt a pet, here are ten ways you can support your local shelter this week:

  1. Sign up to be a foster parent. Help raise kittens or socialize cats so that they go from death row to adoptable.
  2. Donate Food, Towels and Blankets. Redeem coupons for cat food flavors your finicky cats won’t eat, and donate to your local shelter. Clean out your linen closet and donate old towels and blankets.
  3. Volunteer. If you’re one of the many people who is currently unemployed, this is an extremely productive use of your time. It will get you out of the house, give you a sense of purpose, and lift your spirits. If you have allergies and still want to help, consider offering administrative assistance.
  4. Got Kids? Teach them respect for all life forms. Set a good example by getting your pets spayed/neutered.
  5. Research local rescue groups. Most people are unaware of small, local rescue organizations that often relieve the burden of local SPCAs. Find our more about these groups in your locale, and volunteer to help them. Sometimes, just offering your services as a driver, transporting cats to potential owners can be a big help.
  6. Tag and Microchip all of your pets. Shelters are swamped with lost pets that cannot be reunited with their families because they aren’t tagged and microchipped. If every pet owner would take this essential step, it would go a long way toward easing overcrowding in our shelters.
  7. Start or get involved in a TNR program. Trap-Neuter-Release is a humane alternative to euthanasia for managing and reducing feral cat populations by relying on sterilization of the cats so that they don’t breed. Feral cats taken to shelters will never be re-homed, and keeping them a few days before euthanizing them consumes resources that could better be devoted to adoptable pets.
  8. Support shelter-friendly legislation. With budgets being slashed, many shelters need to decrease their holding times for animals in their care. You can help by researching pet-related legislation in your state, and contacting the appropriate people to protest budget cuts and legislation that’s not pet-friendly.
  9. Patronize online shelter stores. Some shelters and sanctuaries — like Best Friends and Siamese Rescue — have online stores from which you can purchase pet products, the proceeds from which help support those organizations. (Siamese Rescue has the most potent catnip cigars and hearts in existence!)
  10. Join Romeo the Cat‘s FURRPOWER brigade. Romeo the Cat leverages FURPOWER to raise money for shelter and rescue organizations through micro-donations. He picks a different organization each month. Readers can donate very small amounts (give up your latte one morning, and give what you save to Romeo), all of which add up to a few thousand dollars each month for a pre-selected shelter or rescue organization. Romeo has been featured in the New York Times and collects through firstgiving.com.