By WVUA 23 Student Reporter Elizabeth Elkin

Even if you think you’re a dog person, you might also be a cat person.

Barkley Stroud, a foster cat owner, said while it all comes down to personal preference, cats can be more low-maintenance than dogs. For someone with a busy schedule, getting a cat may be a good option.

“You don’t have to take them for walks, and they use the restroom on their own,” Stroud said.

Nikki Hoggle, operations manager for the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter, said cats are easier to train.

“Cats come into the world you know with kind of a knowledge to use the litter box,” Hoggle said.

The Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter has approximately 60 cat cages. During the summer, animal intake increases, and these cages fill quickly. Hoggle said when the cages fill, they have to turn animals away.

“We do as much as we can, but if there’s no space, there’s just no space,” she said.

If you don’t want to adopt, one way you can help keep cages free for more animals is to foster an animal. Stroud and his girlfriend said fostering is rewarding.

“We get to take care of them, watch them grow and then give them to somebody that will really appreciate them and help keep the population down to a minimum,” he said.

But keeping the population of stray and feral cats down is difficult when so many animals aren’t fixed. Hoggle said one animal in two years can bring back 144 new animals into the shelter if it’s not spayed or neutered.

The Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter has a new program for low-income families. If you show proof of hardship, such as a food stamp card or medicaid card, the shelter will give you a voucher to spay or neuter your pet for free.

“If you spay and neuter them, it keeps them from reproducing, having too many offspring, it also keeps the diseases down,” Stroud said.

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