After hugely successful adoption events for the past three years, the Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP), the nonprofit organization that takes care of all of the cats at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter in Goleta, is hosting its fourth annual Certified Pre-Owned Cat Free Adoption Event.

The special adoption weekend, to be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16 and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17, waives the regular $75 adoption fee and offers adult cats to qualified adopters with $0 down, 0 percent financing and no down payments — absolutely free, except for a lifetime commitment to provide love and care to a healthy, adoptable shelter cat.

Throughout Santa Barbara County, cats and kittens are flooding into shelters and rescue groups, especially as “kitten season” swells the number of animals needing homes. There are more than 80 adoptable adult cats waiting for homes at ASAP, at least 30 adoptable kittens, plus more than 80 kittens living in foster care. In addition to the cats and kittens arriving daily, ASAP is committed to helping out the overwhelmed North County shelters in Lompoc and Santa Maria by taking some of those cats and kittens as space permits.

The Certified Pre-Owned Cat Free Adoption Event makes it possible to get many of these cats into homes more quickly, improving their quality of life while reducing the strain on the county’s shelters.

ASAP, the first organization working with a municipal shelter in the United States to stop the killing of adoptable cats for population control, was also the first animal rescue organization in the region to offer free adoptions when it held the first Certified Pre-Owned Cat Sale in 2011. The kickoff event was a huge success, with 76 cats adopted out to suitable homes, and the second event in 2012 was expanded to include the Santa Maria Animal Center and resulted in 87 cats sleeping in new homes instead of the shelter by the weekend’s close.

The excitement these events generated brought 10 times the usual number of people to the Santa Barbara shelter, and drew attention to the problem of cat overpopulation and the need for responsible cat lovers to bring a shelter cat or kitten into their lives. Some adopters came to “shop” in advance and were so taken with a cat that they chose to adopt in advance and pay the full fee, rather than miss out on their dream companion. Several of ASAP’s long-term resident cats — who had been at the shelter a year or longer — at last found homes and life outside a cage.

The previous three years’ successes, modeled on similar events held by other well-established animal welfare organizations nationwide and supported by the ASPCA and Maddie’s Fund, made it possible for ASAP to take additional cats from the county’s other facilities, quickly finding them homes as well. Because of the success of last year’s event and the overwhelming community support, the Santa Maria Animal Center is once again joining ASAP in the Certified Pre-Owned Cat Sale event this year, and the Lompoc Animal Shelter will be participating for the first time! In addition to increasing adoptions at the Santa Maria and Lompoc shelters, it is expected that this year’s special will free up space at ASAP to bring down more cats from the overwhelmed North County, increasing their chances of getting adopted.

In keeping with the Certified Pre-Owned theme, ASAP is letting the public know that it all makes and models of adult cats: black cats, white cats, orange cats, striped cats, Siamese cats, old and new models, cute cats, ugly cats, couch potato cats, total purr machines and crazy cats — even a few scratch and dent models! Any combination is waiting to be adopted at the same low cost — free!

If adopters are looking for a 2014 model with that new kitten smell, ASAP has those in stock, too! During the special event, kittens will be 2-for-1 or (only $75 for a pair) — well below sticker price!

All cats and kittens come with a Standard 4-Paw Drive, 100,000 Purr Warranty and a Multi-Point Inspection, including a vet exam, spay/neuter, age appropriate vaccinations, FeLV and FIV screening, deworming, flea treatment, and microchip. Sorry, no trade-ins.

All potential adopters must meet ASAP’s standard adoption criteria, including homeownership verification or landlord approval. A driver’s license or other valid identification is required for all adoptions. Potential adopters are encouraged to visit ASAP prior to the event to check out the wide array of floor models — all makes and models of cats and kittens are in stock! Adopters can also expedite the adoption process by completing the homeowner verification and/or landlord approval process in advance.

ASAP is proud to partner with Santa Barbara County Animal Services with this landmark event. ASAP is located at 5473 Overpass Road in Goleta.

For more information, please call 805.794.9574 or email or click here.

— Angela Walters Rockwell is executive director of the Animal Shelter Assistance Program.