Riley Heruska
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Every year, approximately 3.4 million cats enter animal shelters across the nation. Roughly 70 percent of these adoptable cats end up euthanized while only a third are taken into new homes. As sad as this sounds, there is one big way you can make a difference in the lives of felines and the organizations that protect them: adopt a new friend this fall. 

Not only is fall the perfect season for taking in a cat, but it's also one of the most beneficial times to adopt an animal from an organization. Here's why: 

1. It's about to get too cold outside for stray felines. Animal shelters often hit peak capacity during the winter months because the creatures can't be left outside when temperatures plummet. Therefore, it's helpful to adopt an animal now to help clear space for incoming cats and dogs later on in the year. 

2. Kitten season just ended. According to the Humane Society of the United States, kitten season begins in spring and comes to an end once falls begins. That means that too many kittens were born over the summer, resulting in overwhelming numbers of unwanted cats in shelters and rescue organizations. The more cats these places house, the higher risk there is of euthanization, illness and other risks. However, if you've been thinking about adopting a feline friend, this might be an opportunity to find a young, healthy cat to bring into your home. 

3. They'll take care of pests that sneak inside seeking warmth. Cold weather is rolling in, which means that rodents and other pests will soon look for shelter in your toasty attics and walls. Having a cat on the property will significantly decrease the pest population. This is especially important because many pests bring disease and filth with them, so eradicating them quickly is a safe choice. 

4. Owning a pet can improve your physical and mental health. Studies have found that owning a cat can lower your stress levels and risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 30 percent. Additionally, cat owners tend to sleep better and feel less anxious. At this busy time of year when the flu and other illnesses are circulating, we could all use a friend who keeps us happy and healthy. 

5. They require very minimal training. Adopting a cat actually doesn't require that much preparation, and once you own the animal, you simply need to invest in a litter box and food. Before you know it, your kitty will be completely adjusted to life in your family, just in time to mingle with others during the holiday season. 

If you think that adopting a cat might be an option for your family, consider visiting the animals at one of the following local organizations. 

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