The animal organization is hoping to lure bargain hunters away from crowded chain stores and boutiques with the promise of waiving the $75 adoption fee for all felines over the age of 1 year old.
New cat owners will receive a free cat collar, ID tag and a cardboard pet carrier. They will also get a certificate for a free vet visit within two weeks of adoption at the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, which is located in the same building as the adoption center at 424 E. 92nd Street, between First and York avenues.
"People are going to be busy looking for new televisions and clothes," said Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the ASPCA Adoption Center, "but they don’t realize when the clothes go out of fashion or the TV needs to be replaced in a year by the latest technology, that cat is still going to be next to you on your couch ready to share the love."
The ASPCA decided to hold its first-ever "Cat Friday" event after doing a count of its kitties and finding it had 71 little fur balls over the age of 1. Many shelters often find themselves with an abundance of older cats after breeding season ends in October, Buchwald explained.
"The kittens get adopted first, and at the end of the breeding season, shelters are left with a lot of adults," she said.
The adoption center runs a "Meet Your Match" program to help prospective owners find pets, similar to an online dating service. The center asks people to fill out a 10-minute survey so it can help those looking for lap cats, independent cats or brave cats that greet strangers at the door. They’ll help those looking for a second cat, a pair of cats or the type of cat you can put a harness on and take to the park.
Adopting older felines with more developed personalities can help the process, Buchwald said.
"With a kitten you don’t know what you’re going to get," said Buchwald, whose 11-year-old cat was adopted at the age of 1.
"In general, people have what I consider to be a misperception that there are advantages to starting with kittens’ unformed personalities," she said. Frankly, you couldn’t pay me to adopt a kitten because they’re annoying to live with. … They’re a lot of fun, but you have to be on your toes."
The ASPCA considers cats over the age of six months to be adults, since that’s the age they can start breeding. Cats reach full size at 8 months to a year, but they tend to act like adolescents until the age of 2, Buchwald said. Cats live an average of 15 to 20 years.
"We’re interested in making a lifelong bond for person and cat," Buchwald said. "This is not about a sale."
But she still made a pitch: "It's a bargain. It's a gift that keeps giving, and it's low maintenance. You don’t have to walk cats. They're perfect urban pets."
The ASPCA’s Cat Friday runs from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. at the adoption center at 424 E. 92nd Street, between First and York avenues.