The Scratching Post is a weekly newsletter from pets columnist Kate Karp, bringing you all the latest news on pet adoptions, animal welfare and ways to get involved. Subscribe here.

Janet, a shelter volunteer, poses with an adoptable adult cat. Courtesy of LBACS

Animals don’t have a voice, or at least, they can’t speak our language, so it’s up to us to speak up for them. In Long Beach, animal advocates are frequently heard at City Council meetings, talking, barking, yowling—what have you—for their sake.

At a meeting on Aug. 22, resident Yvonne Gomez demanded accountability for animal abusers. The Little Lion Foundation’s co-founder Claudia Otis and shelter volunteer Laura Sellmer pushed for a living wage for shelter employees and a spay/neuter team to catch up on the shelter’s backlog of unaltered pets.

Speaking up for animals seems to have made a difference. 

During a proposed-budget presentation, Parks, Recreation and Marine Department director Brent Dennis detailed budget highlights for Long Beach Animal Care Services.

This year’s budget offers more than a step forward for our furry friends: 

  • $33,000 for a surgical-team health technician position
  • $39,000 for public-health-associate position upgrades for foster and adoption coordinators, 
  • $400,000 to address shelter overcrowding.

Overcrowding has hit crisis mode in shelters across the country, and ours is bursting at the seams. But we can’t adopt ourselves out of the issue. Spaying and neutering our pets is the best way to mitigate overcrowding. 

That’s where community partnerships like the CatPAWS Spay and Neuter Clinic come in. In exchange for storage and board, the Animal Services will use the clinic to catch up on their own unaltered kitty backlog. 

“We are profoundly grateful for the arrival of the Helen Sanders CatPAWS trailer,” said Melanie Wagner, Long Beach Animal Care Services’ acting bureau manager. “We are excited to showcase its dedicated purpose and unwavering commitment to bringing spayed and neutered cats, and occasionally rabbits, to the community.” 

Dennis’ presentation demonstrated genuine care for animals and an understanding of challenges and possible solutions facing our shelter. Sure, it’ll never be enough, but animal advocates will continue to give a voice to the voiceless.

Pets to adopt or foster

More access to spay and neuter procedures is going to help mitigate the flow of animals pouring into our overcrowded shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services. Here are a few cats who are ready to go to a new home and a few more who will be ready soon enough. 

To adopt any shelter pet, visit them at Long Beach Animal Care Services. Shelter hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 7700 E. Spring St. at the entrance to El Dorado Park (no parking fee for shelter visitors). You can email [email protected] to speed the process for adopting or fostering any pet.

Courtesy of LBACS

Rocket was brought to the shelter as a stray when he was only 5 weeks old and weighed just 2 pounds. He was frightened and distrustful, but now, at almost 5 months old, Rocket’s stellar personality has—er, successfully launched into orbit, mainly around your hand for scritches and attention.

Courtesy of LBACS

These beguiling little critters are only a few of the kittens still coming into the shelter in droves. Not all of them are ready for adoption or fostering, but thanks to funding and the shelter’s community partnership with Helen Sanders CatPAWS, they’ll be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and ready to go home with you. They’ll also lie in your clean laundry, and block your computer monitor.

Courtesy of LBACS

Brown tabby alert! These little ones are ready for new homes.

Pet events

Clear the Shelters Campaign Month

Through Aug. 31, area shelters and rescues are participating in this nationwide adoption push. Find more information here

This year, our shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services and cat and kitten rescue Helen Sanders CatPAWS are participating, and both are offering adoption specials. LBACS’ adoption fee for cats and dogs will be $25. If you’re ready to adopt, see the available kitties online, or better yet, visit the shelter at 7700 E. Spring St.

CatPAWS is offering a two-for-one kitten deal and a $25 adoption fee for cats over a year old. See who’s up for adoption here

Benny’s 6th Birthday Party 

Benny is a little cat who suffered horrible abuse when he was a kitten. After one of CatPAWS’ board members fell in love with him at the shelter, had him stitched up with the help of CatPAWS and the medical team at Long Beach Animal Care Services, he’s been living the life—and he’s about to turn 6.

Celebrate with Benny with a day of food, games, vendors, arts and crafts, adoptions and an appearance from the little man himself. 

The party will go from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 26) in the Marina Community Center, 151 Marina Way in Seal Beach. Tickets are $20 and kids under 10 are free. Find tickets here.

Music for Mutts and Cats

The event title doesn’t imply an audience of dogs and cats moving their tails to a syncopated beat. It’s a fundraiser organized by a shelter volunteer for the benefit of the animals at Long Beach Animal Care Services. Funds from raffle tickets will help support spay and neuter for all the pets who are staying at our shelter.

The event is from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 26) at Syncopated Brewery, 3671 Industry Ave., Unit C1, Lakewood. Raffle tickets $2 are each.

To see a list of local animal rescue groups, click here.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this column said that ACS may receive $1.4 million in new funding, however the $1.4 million reflects increases made since 2022