Adoption is just one of many ways to help KC animal shelters

Diesel is available for adoption at the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City.
Diesel is available for adoption at the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City. The Kansas City Star

The Star’s 12 Strays of Christmas series is showcasing shelter dogs and cats, puppies and kittens who need homes. But let’s say you’re an animal lover who isn’t in a position to adopt a pet right now. How else can you help?

▪ Shelters always need pet food, cat litter, and dog and cat toys. Visit the website of your favorite shelter, where it probably lists items it needs.

The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City, for instance, has a Holiday Wish List that includes large litter boxes, dog collars and leashes, bird seed, hand towels and liquid laundry detergent. Wayside Waifs’ list mentions peanut butter, paper towels and bleach.

KC Pet Project and Great Plains SPCA both have Amazon wish lists on their websites. (You place the order; Amazon delivers to the shelter.)

KC Pet Project is in great need of unscented, clumping cat litter; dry and wet cat food; and dog treats, among other items.

▪ You can never go wrong with cash.

Through the end of December, every cash donation to Great Plains SPCA will be matched by an anonymous local family. Donate $50, for instance, and the shelter gets $100.

Humane Society of Greater Kansas City lets donors help a specific animal through its Sponsor a Shelter Pet program. Sponsorship levels: $35, $60 and $110.

▪ Become a foster pet parent by taking a shelter animal into your home on a short-term basis. By providing a dog or cat with love and socialization skills, you’ll make it that much more adoptable.

“We are so full right now and have a lot of great fostering opportunities throughout the holidays,” says KC Pet Project’s Tori Fugate.

▪ Volunteer at a shelter.

“We want animal lovers of all ages to volunteer,” including young children with parents, says Great Plains’ Rachel Hodgson.

You can even volunteer from home by using your social media to promote adoptable pets.

Robin Rowland at Wayside Waifs says there’s a huge need for volunteers at shelters across the city. At Wayside, trained volunteers feed animals, clean kennels and socialize dogs and cats, among other tasks.