Did you have a happy Thanksgiving? I sure did, spending a quiet day counting my blessings and playing with my two little kittens, whom I got from Island Cat Resources and Adoption (ICRA, for short).

Except they're not so little anymore. We celebrated their six-month birthday last weekend. And, as often happens with cats, they've acquired some more nicknames. Sally is called Squeaky because she squeaks (it's very cute) and Pepe is called Fuzzy because she's, well, fuzzy. Collectively, they're the Peegees, short for Pizza Girls. Their brother, Sterling -- oops! Make that Ralph -- is doing well in his new home, too.

That's the good news. The bad news is that they are pretty much the last ICRA cats to find new homes. Nobody has adopted any more at ICRA's Saturday mobile adoption clinics at Petco in Alameda, and they haven't had any hits on their website in six weeks.

Black cats and kittens are having an especially hard time, as are black-and-white cats. I don't know why, but people have this weird prejudice, as if the old myth about black cats being bad luck is true. Ironically, they have an easy time getting adopted in England because the English, on the other hand, believe black cats bring good luck!

As a result, ICRA now has more than 60 cats and kittens piling up in foster homes. As they get bigger, they're going to become less attractive to potential adopters because everyone wants little babies. And there are more kittens being born all the time, waiting to take their place

It's the same story with other animal rescue groups. I talked with Megan Webb, director of the Oakland Animal Shelter, and she's up to her limit in cats, too.

"But we're even more overloaded with little dogs," she said. "Not just Chihuahuas, but poodles and terriers, too. I had to send 40 dogs to the Idaho Humane Society last week because they'll have a better chance finding new homes up there, and I'll be sending another 20 this week.

"People have weird notions about little dogs being hyper and yappy, but the truth is that many of the little dogs in our shelter are as laid-back and mellow as golden retrievers."

The obvious solution in the long run is to decrease the population, which is why many groups like ICRA emphasize spay/neuter surgeries. (You can support this effort with a tax-deductible donation.)

But in the short run, these little cats and dogs desperately need new homes. I know times are hard, but now that we're in the holiday season, can you find room in your home -- and your heart -- for a furry, four-footed bundle of love?

Please check out the adorable kitties at ICRA's website, www.icraeastbay.org, as well as the cats and dogs on the websites of the Oakland Animal Shelter, Berkeley Animal Shelter, Alameda Shelter, Oakland SPCA, Berkeley Humane Society, Home At Last, Hopalong, Fix Our Ferals, Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation and other animal groups.

Gandhi was right: "You can judge the morality of a nation by the way the society treats its animals."

P.S.: Congratulations to the Montclair Women's Big Band, one of the swinging-est aggregations around, which will celebrate its 15th anniversary with an all-star concert this Sunday at Yoshi's. Be there or be square.

Reach Martin Snapp at catman@sunset.net.

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