Last year, 1,682 cats died at the Aiken County Shelter, and it is “kitten season” again, which means that there are babies everywhere, nearly all unwanted. A very few will be lucky and find good homes, but most of them will die; some humanely at the shelter, but the rest will meet sad ugly deaths.

A couple of summers ago, FOTAS helped establish C.A.T.S., an adoptable cat and kitten colony at the County Shelter. It is really a lovely place where cat-lovers, young and old, can go and spend time with loving cats that truly deserve forever homes.

The shelter welcomes volunteers who might brush them, have a game of chase-the-toy, or just sit and quietly offer affection: a butt scratch, a behind-the-ear rub, soft talk and receive a contented purr of appreciation in return.

Sit on the benches in two indoor cat dorms or go around back to their outdoor patios. Both offer climbing trees, scratching poles and toys galore. There are hidey-holes and rafters for the more reticent cats who might love a job in a barn helping to control the rodent masses. C.A.T.S. is a lovely, welcoming place.

Joan, recently widowed, found solace with the cats after her husband’s passing. She identifies as a “dog person” but is no longer stable enough on her feet to walk most dogs so she volunteers in C.A.T.S. She found it surprisingly comforting to have the adult cats come to her wanting to be petted. “Kittens are fun,” she said. “But they don’t stay put.”

So Joan comes every week now to spend time with the cats. “There may be four or five kittens in various and sundry positions using me as a climbing post,” she said, “Not on my head, though; I don’t let them climb on my head.” She laughed. She plans to bring her own folding chair and spend more time. She recommends that chairs be added when C.A.T.S. moves to the new shelter site.

The cost of relocating C.A.T.S. is a FOTAS commitment. And there are other immediate needs, like food, toys, kitty litter and spay/neuter funds. A healthy cat environment needs places to play and things to play with. It should be interesting, stimulating, safe and clean. Providing such an environment takes resources: money, time, knowledge and care.

Next Saturday, FOTAS will be hosting our annual benefit Breakfast at FATZ for the County Shelter Catz. This year it is a component of our “Fit, Furnish and Finish” Fundraising campaign for the New County Shelter. Herbie Brown will be at FATZ with a sample of our adoptable cats and kittens. We will be selling our signature hats and T-shirts, recruiting volunteers and foster homes, and answering any questions you may have about our programs.

Tickets are $7. Buy them at the door, online under “Events” or call 803-514-4313. $5 commemorative tickets are available for those who can’t make it.

We hope to see you there, then perhaps in a chair beside Joan, or with new cat of your own.

FOTAS volunteers work with the Aiken County Animal Shelter, 411 Wire Road. For more information, contact or visit

Aiken County Animal Shelter: “By the Numbers”

May 27th through June 2nd, 2013

Brought in: 44 dogs and 46 cats

Adopted: 7 dogs and 6 cats

Put down: 26 dogs and 20 cats!

Aiken County Shelter “Pets of the Week!”

BABY GIRL –1 yr. Black, black, black, with golden eyes! Only $35

BENJAMIN - 3 yrs. Hound mix. This guy is a joy of a boy! Yours for only $70