Children can read to cats this summer at King William Regional Animal Shelter – Daily Press

KING WILLIAM — Cats at the regional animal shelter are being socialized — and kids are making new furry friends — through the Cats & Cloverbuds 4-H program.

Next month, the Cloverbuds will read books to cats at the shelter, located at 20201 King William Road in King William County. Sessions take place on August 2 and 16 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

“It really benefits both the cats and the children,” said 4-H extension worker Christina Ruszczyk-Murray.

Experts have said that cats are soothed by reading and children gain confidence by reading aloud. It also establishes a relationship between cats and humans.

Scholastic Books reported that “reading fluency, including reading speed and phrasing, improves by reading aloud and practicing the same material over and over.”

Ruszczyk-Murray has worked with the Cats & Cloverbuds program for three years and read with children on July 12 for the first time since 2019. The program is open to all King and Queen and King William children ages 5-8.

At the beginning of the month, 10 dogs and 12 cats were available for adoption at the regional animal shelter. So far, the shelter has 10 cats and four dogs that are under capacity.

“We are in a much better place than we were in terms of capacity until before July 4,” regional animal shelter Lauri Betts said.

Although there has been a flood of adoptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, overcrowding has become a national problem. Experts said the problem could be due to rising prices across the country, preventing owners from caring for their pets. Stray and wild animals that are not spayed and neutered also contribute to the overpopulation problem, Betts said.

“In the spring, we usually always have an overpopulation of cats,” Betts said.

To help people not abandon their pets, the regional animal shelter has set up a pantry for pet owners struggling with the current economic crisis.

Shelters like the Regional Animal Shelter, which provides the care and welfare of relocated animals from King William and King and Queen counties, not only face overcrowding issues, but also health care funding issues. health for their animals, according to Betts.

“We have dogs with heartworm and it’s costing us more because the county doesn’t give us money to treat it,” she said.

To enroll in the Cats & Cloverbuds program, call the regional animal shelter at 804-769-4983. For more information about volunteering or donating to the shelter, call or visit

Amy Jo Martin, [email protected]