If you’re a car racing fan, you’ve probably heard of the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500, and the Baja 1000.

But have you ever heard of the Maryland 2000? It’s not a car race, but a race to find homes for 2,000 cats during the month of July.

This is the middle of “kitten season,” the time of year when shelters are inundated with cats and kittens.

The problem is huge. Here’s why. There are an estimated 70 million feral and community cats roaming in the United States. All those cats start coming into heat in late January and February. They give birth to litters just 9 weeks after being impregnated.

These daunting numbers are only the beginning because cats can get pregnant multiple times during their reproductive season, which can last through the fall.

Shelters feel like they can’t get their heads above water. In 2016, from May through September, BARCS alone took in over 1,900 adult cats and 975 kittens.

This year,18 Maryland shelters have come together to fight the problem by launching the Maryland 2000.

Says Nichole Miller, the MD SPCA director of operations, “To help find homes for thousands of cats and kittens in our state, the Maryland SPCA and our Baltimore Animal Welfare Alliance partners, BARCS, Baltimore County Animal Services and Baltimore Humane Society have invited animal shelters across Maryland to join us for a statewide month-long adoption event called the Maryland 2,000 Saving Lives Across Maryland. “

All of the shelters involved are waiving adoption fees for cats and kittens throughout July.

An estimated 860,000 cats are euthanized annually at shelters around the country.  The Maryland 2000 aims to make a dent in that number in one of the most critical months of the year.

You can have an impact by adopting (for free) a cat or kitten from one of the shelters participating in the Maryland 2000. Here’s a list of all participating shelters:

The MD SPCA

BARCS

Baltimore County Animal Services (BCAS)

The Baltimore Humane Society

The Humane Society of Harford County

The Animal Welfare League of Queen Anne’s County

Anne Arundel County Animal Control

Caroline County Humane Society

Cecil County Animal Services

City of College Park Animal Control

Frederick County Div. of Animal Control & Pet Adoption

Howard County Animal Control & Adoption Center

Humane Society of Carroll County

Humane Society of Kent County

Humane Society of Washington County

Prince George’s County Animal Services Division

Talbot Humane Society

Tri County Animal Shelter

And if you want to be tempted by some adorable kitties, watch this short video to see how the Humane Society of Harford County is coping with kitten season.

More In Critter Corner

All In Critter Corner »