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Keith Johnson, Deseret News
Taylor, a tuxedo cat, rests in a cage before his "wedding" to a black lab named Sophie. They were at a Pet Super Adoption sponsored by No More Homeless Pets In Utah at PetSmart.

A dog and cat were married Friday.

Taylor, a feral tuxedo cat, and Sophie, a black lab, were united in front of PetSmart at 389 W. 1830 South in Salt Lake City.

Holly Sizemore, executive director of No More Homeless Pets In Utah, in a Halloween priestess costume, performed the wedding with a cacophony of barking dogs accompanying the ceremony. The event kicks off the organization's fall super adoption, with more than 700 cats and dogs hoping to change their digs.

"This year's theme is 'Fall in love,"' Sizemore said.

Sizemore said the purpose of the marriage between species was to get people to think about falling in love and adopting a second pet. She said many times cats and dogs get along together and make excellent housemates.

Before he was rescued, Taylor lived on the street in a feral cat colony — and almost didn't make it.

"He was due to be euthanized," said Erin Fell, promotions director for NMHPIU.

The bride, Sophie, also was once a resident of an animal shelter.

"We rescued her a couple of years back," said Sean Dean, the father of the "bride."

The rescued couple are an unpopular color for adoption — black — and are less likely to get adopted because they are genetically more common, according to Fell.

Consequently, the group used a black lab and a partially black cat (the tuxedo designation refers to a black-and-white color pattern) for the "marriage" to get people interested in the color as well as to promote more interest in cats.

"For every two dogs we find a home for, we find a home for one cat," Fell said, which leaves many cats without a home and at risk to be euthanized.

Adopting a shelter pet instead of buying one saves animal lives, Sizemore said. Also, when someone has a pet, it should be a lifelong partnership between pet and owner. But that is not all.

"The most important thing people can do (for their pets) is to spay or neuter," Sizemore said, to stop the proliferation of homeless pets.

After the "wedding," potential adopters flooded into the adoption area, which makes volunteer Lori Thomassen both happy and nervous. She is happy for pets who get to go to a new home but nervous for those who stay.

"I have to volunteer on Friday because I can't stand to see those left over on Sunday," she said. She falls in love with every pet she cares for. And she knows what may happen to those that remain unadopted.

The super adoption runs today from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adoption fees range from $75 to $150, and include spaying and neutering.

For more information see www.utahpets.org.


E-mail: lwilde@desnews.com