Great Plains' regional animal shelter in Independence has too many cats in its care.

To combat its feline problem, the no-kill shelter on Missouri 78 in eastern Independence is hosting a special week-long adoption event this week. All adoptable animals, including dogs, are half-price, adult cats are free and kittens are available in pairs for the cost of one half-price adoption fee.

According to Great Plains, there are 270 cats awaiting adoption at the Independence shelter, even though the facility can only comfortably house 150 cats. In addition, there are 152 additional cats in foster homes – a total of 422 cats awaiting adoption.

Latisha Stephens, manager of the Independence shelter, said the place often gets full with cats at the end of summer, but the mild fall weather so far this fall has perhaps led to a proliferation of kittens.

“We've been at this point all summer – full, full, full,” she said.

A lack of cats getting spayed or neutered is a likely culprit, Stephens said, as that can lead to kittens born stray. One cat brought in just yesterday, she said, had wandered into a man's garage and clearly had a skin condition and was emaciated.

“Cats can start reproducing in even five months, and before you know it, it just explodes,” Stephens said. “We have so many community cats.

“I cannot encourage spay and neuter strong enough.”

Stephens said that for now they are only taking in cats that are sick, injured or declawed – clearly unable to care for themselves better than what even a crowded shelter can provide – or kittens.

Great Plains is encouraging two-for-one kitten adoptions because cats often are “very social” animals, Stephens said. The organization also seeks foster homes for cats.

Adoption hours are 12-7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.