June is National Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month, and an animal welfare organization across the country are celebrating by encouraging the public to consider adopting one of the 3.4 million cats that enter shelters each year.

A recent ASPCA survey of American adults shows that, while cat owners themselves have overwhelmingly positive experiences with their cats, non-pet owners lack an understanding of the benefits of having cats as pets. The most common misconceptions held by non-pet owners about cats are that cats do not make great companions and are high maintenance. On both points, cat owners beg to differ. Only 47 percent of non-pet owners believe cats make great companions, compared to 73 percent of cat owners. Additionally, fewer than half (46 percent) of non-pet owners agree that cats are low maintenance, compared to an overwhelming 82 percent of cat owners. A vast majority of cat owners also believe that cats are intelligent (77 percent), quiet (77 percent), and independent (71 percent).

“This survey further confirms what many of us already know – cats are intelligent animals that make excellent companions,” said Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of research & development for the ASPCA. “With millions of cats entering shelters each year, we hope that the public learns from the experiences of current cat owners that there are many benefits of welcoming a cat into your home.”

“An added benefit to pet adoption is that many shelters are using research-based adoption programs which assess both the adopters and the adoptable pets,” added Weiss. “Our research has shown us that cats’ personalities or ‘feline-alities’ as we like to call them, can range from the gregarious to the independent.”

Flagler Humane Society is honoring cats and encouraging adoptions by waiving all adoption fees for cats over 5 years old. “We are the most full during the summer months so we’re county on Flagler residents to help us provide our homeless animals forever homes,” said Amy Carotenuto, executive director. Flagler Humane Society has also lower adoption fees to $10 for all dogs over 10 years old.

To further bring attention to cats during this special month, the ASPCA is joining forces with Animal Planet, My Cat From Hell host Jackson Galaxy and the Jackson Galaxy Foundation to launch a social media contest celebrating shelter cats. By sharing their cutest and funniest feline photos using the hashtag #MyRescueCat and signing an adoption pledge, participants will be entered for the chance to win one of three grand prize packs or have their photo featured on the My Cat From Hell season finale on Saturday, June 13, 2015 at 8p.m. Cat lovers can enter the contest at www.aspca.org/MyRescueCat.