A furry exhibition

The Prague Post

Spring show offers 150 feline friends for adoption

Looking to add a warm and fuzzy family member to your household? Want to help a nonprofit organization dedicated to placing unwanted animals? Or maybe you’re just a cat lover. If any or all of these apply, Kocky-online’s Spring Cat Exhibition is for you.

“This placing exhibition is our eighth,” says Zuzana Fenclová, a volunteer with Kocky-online. “We usually hold two a year, one in the spring and one in the fall, when shelters need emptying the most because of the flood of unwanted kittens that come in early summer and fall.”

Kocky-online is a small, volunteer-run NGO dedicated to placing homeless cats. Its Web site (Kocky-online.cz, in Czech only) has photos and descriptions of cats available for adoption.

Ten shelters will be participating in this year’s Spring Cat Exhibition, offering an estimated 150 cats for adoption. Kocky-online cats have all gone through a health check, been vaccinated and, if they are over eight months old, spayed or neutered. All the cats in the exhibition, she adds, must have a health certificate and a card documenting a valid vaccination against infectious cat diseases and rabies.

OS Podbrdsko is one of the participating shelters. Františka Kernová, a volunteer and foster mom for the organization, says it currently has 60 cats available for adoption — though the number the staff is taking care of is actually much higher.

“We only offer cats that have been vaccinated and castrated for adoption,” she says. “We also have ill ones that aren’t available for adoption. We have special foster homes focused on ill cats, ones with injuries, special diets or contagious diseases.”

Kernová says that cats come to her organization for a variety of reasons.

“Unwanted kittens, families with children who think a cat and child can’t live together, cats that have decided to live in someone’s garden or on the property of some company, kittens found in boxes next to the highway… anything you can imagine!” she says.

Like Kocky-online, OS Podbrdsko is nonprofit and volunteer-run. Kernová says the organization works with about 20 foster homes, though that number tends to grow in the spring and fall, when the cat population rises. Financial support comes from several different sources.

“We get some funding from sponsors and foundations, but small private donations are probably the biggest contribution to our budget,” she says. “These people aren’t always rich; there are students and retired people among them. They send, for example, 200 Kc [$12.66] a month, but it helps.”

Attending the exhibition is a good way to help, even if you don’t bring home a cat. Vendors will be selling toys and other cat-related merchandise, and the money earned helps support the organizations.

If you’re thinking about adopting, Fenclová offers this advice:

“We want prospective owners to know that a cat lives about 15 years, and they are responsible for the cat’s well-being throughout her entire life. It’s not only good food and medical care, but the owner’s time,” she says.

There will be a small fee for adopting cats in the exhibition — 300 Kc for a vaccinated kitten, and 600 Kc for a vaccinated and fixed cat. If you are adopting a kitten under eight months old, you must agree to have it spayed or neutered. That’s part of proper care not just for individual cats, but the larger population.

“There are about 50,000 homeless cats in Prague alone,” says Fenclová. “There’s no need to produce more.”