Maui Humane Society Overwhelmed With Cats

File photo. 

The Maui Humane Society is in the midst of this year’s kitten season, a predictable annual occurrence characterized by exceptionally high kitten intake numbers. However, this year’s population explosion has been compounded by pandemic-related interruptions and adjustments. The resulting cat population is at a critically high level beyond shelter capacity, with 87 waiting to be adopted in the Cat Ohana and 155 more in foster care.

Due to COVID airline restrictions, Maui Humane Society has been unable to transfer animals to Mainland shelters via their Wings of Aloha program for the last 4 months. Regular direct flights from Maui to Pacific Northwest transfer locations have been canceled and unattended animals can’t fly with layovers due to the strong possibility of flight cancellations. The Wings of Aloha program, made possible by the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation, transferred 800 animals to Mainland animal rescue groups last year. During ‘Kitten Season’, Maui Humane Society could transfer 50 to 60 animals a week. “Our community does not have the ability to absorb this many animals, especially considering the financial impact of COVID. People are downsizing, leaving the Island, and surrendering pets. If we could find a donor with a private plane we would fill it up with cats and dogs and fly them to our transfer partners in Portland. We are geographically isolated and our organization is financially restricted, we must think outside the box for solutions,” said Jenny Miller, Director of Development & Marketing.

Also contributing to the kitten population increase is the fact that the shelter paused public spay/neuter services during the height of the pandemic. Maui Humane Society adhered to National Animal Care & Control guidelines and State mandates to maintain social distancing and eliminate non-essential services such as elective spay/neuter surgery. Despite being reopened now, the impact of this program’s hiatus has had a direct result on the number of kittens being born.

The most anticipated impact of COVID on the shelter population is increasing on a daily basis.
Maui’s enormous unemployed population is depending on federal assistance which is expiring
soon. Since July 1st, MHS has seen an increased number of animals being surrendered due to
continued unemployment, financial constraints and moving.

Maui Humane Society has issued an SOS for foster homes for kittens 5 months and over.
Please email with your name, phone number, age of
kitten/cat that best fits your home and if you can foster more than one. If you are considering
adopting a cat, now’s the time! Adoption fees are sponsored on all cats aged 3 months and up
until the end of August. All adoptable animals are on our website and available for virtual
meet-and-greet appointments by calling 877-3680 ext. 3.

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