CHILLIWACK, British Columbia — Canadian pet food manufacturer, Petcurean, announced Jan. 14 the launch of a campaign to raise awareness for the adoption of shelter animals who are often overlooked due to issues such as health, age or behavior.

The campaign, “Uplift the Underdog: Cat Edition,” asks animal rescues, shelters and other supporters across North America to submit stories to help underdog felines across the continent get adopted. Petcurean has held similar campaigns in the past for both dogs and cats.

“Every day, thousands of cats are taken into shelters across the United States and Canada, and, sadly, many of them will ultimately be euthanized because they are perceived as 'too hard to adopt' because of their age, health or some other type of perceived imperfection,” said Christine Mallier, public relations and community relations manager at Petcurean.

The pet food company cites data from the American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which estimates 3.2 million cats are taken to shelters in the US each year, of which only approximately 1.6 million are adopted and about 860,000 are euthanized.

In Canada, an estimated 81,000 cats were given to shelters in 2018, of which 62% were adopted, according to Humane Canada.

From all submissions, Petcurean will choose 12 finalists — six from the US and six from Canada — for which the company will pay the adoption fee and provide a years’ supply of Petcurean cat food to the adopted cat and its new family. The cat who receives the most votes overall will receive a 3-year supply of Petcurean cat food.

The 12 shelters represented by the 12 finalists will also be rewarded with 2,000 cat meals each, “to support the important work they’re doing to help animals in their communities,” the company said.

Initial submissions will be accepted from Jan. 14 to Feb. 2 at Finalists will be announced Feb. 18, public voting will take place until Feb. 24, and the winner will be announced Feb. 25.

“If just one cat is able to find their forever family because of the attention raised by 'Uplift the Underdog: Cat Edition,' we will view the campaign as a success,” Mallier added.

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