The U.S. Postal Service has announced the coming issuance of two new stamps depicting a cute (is there any other kind?) puppy and lovable kitten for a special purpose. It's not to push their adorableness, but to promote neutering or spaying of pets.

About 70,000 cats and dogs are born each day in the United States. Animal shelters and veterinarians urge pet owners to neuter or spay pets to combat the problem of animal overpopulation. These procedures also can lead to better health and longer lives for the pets.

The two pictured on the stamps, puppy Kirby and kitten Samantha, were adopted from animal shelters and were respectively neutered and spayed. The USPS says both are enjoying life in Connecticut with adoptive families.

The Postal Service says the set of two is a continuation of an effort to raise the public's awareness of social issues.

However, orders for this pet-stamp release will not be accepted until September 2002.

All current stamps and other philatelic products, as well as a free catalog, are available by calling (800)-STAMP-24. Or go to the Postal Service Web site: www.usps.com.