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By now, we’ve all heard the mantra: “Adopt, don’t shop!” But what about “Foster, don’t shop!”?

It may not have the same rhyming ring to it, but animal advocacy agencies across Los Angeles County are hoping residents might still consider opening up their homes to a new fluffy roommate, even if it’s just for a matter of weeks or months.

In a press release dated May 27, LA Animal Services announced shelters were at capacity across the County. While Santa Monica has its own animal shelter that is not overrun (learn more at, local residents are welcome to adopt or foster animals from elsewhere in the County, where the situation is a bit more dire.

Why foster? 

Not all animals are great fits for all homes. Best Friends Animal Society recently shared a story of one feline friend who finally found a forever home — but getting there was a journey.

Halana the cat — a longtime resident of Best Friends Animal Society — came to the shelter in May 2021 from Harbor Shelter as a four-year-old stray, according to information provided by the Society.

“She was a little timid but once she trusted people, she was a very affectionate girl,” Best Friends’ Alina Hauptman wrote in an email. “Halana suffered from allergies as well as a tendency to overgroom when she could see or hear other cats. After a couple of months testing different diets and onsite housing placements, it was decided she would do best in a foster home that could focus on getting her allergies under control.

“She started in one foster home but moved to a second foster home this past November,” Hauptman continued. “Kelly, her foster/now adopted mom helped get Halana’s allergies under control and fell in love in the process.”

If you’re looking to adopt a new kitty into your family, June is a great time to consider it: Best Friends Animal Society’s Lifesaving Center in Mission Hills and NKLA Adoption Center in Los Angeles are both offering $5 adoptions for cats ages six months and up all month long.

When it comes to canines, shelter capacity is a concern.

LA Animal Services reported shelters were over capacity as they “continue to take in more dogs than we have been able to find these canine friends their new homes.”

But, like with cats, dogs may also be fostered if permanent adoption isn’t in the cards.

At the West LA shelter, 88 dogs and 26 cats were waiting to be adopted as of latest available data, ranging from puppies to seniors and everything in between. Some of the pups have been waiting to find a forever home since spring 2021. 

“If you are unable to adopt, please consider fostering one of the many wonderful pets from our Centers to give them a temporary break from kennel life,” the LA Animal Services email urged. “Dogs and cats adopted from LA Animal Services join their new families already spayed or neutered, vaccinated, licensed, and microchipped. In addition, canine companions adopted from LA Animal Services are also eligible for free dog training classes at the Paws for Life K9 Rescue People & Pet Innovation Center in Mission Hills.”