I’m pretty sure everybody reading this right now likes kittens… in fact I’d be willing to bet money that most of you LOVE kittens, I know I do! Those tiny fluff balls are so cute, playful and inquisitive of their surroundings… So “Kitten Season” must be a good thing right?… WRONG!
Although it sounds amazing, kitten season is the time of year when cats give birth, flooding animal shelters and rescue groups across the nation with homeless litters. There’s no exact start or end date for kitten season, it’s really three seasons rolled into one starting in spring, peaking in late spring or early summer, and ending in fall.
Why does kitten season occur? Surprise, surprise it’s because too many kittens are born when cats who are not spayed and neutered mate.
I was aware of kitten season and the problems it caused, but it wasn’t until I visited the San Diego Humane Society and had the opportunity to check out their kitten nursery myself, that I realized what a massive problem it was!
The Kitten Nursery staff and volunteers care for thousands of orphaned kittens every year. These neonatal kittens require 24-hour care and before the program was established in 2008, kittens this young would be euthanized because of a lack of resources required to care for them. The Kitten Nursery was the first program of its kind and has provided a model for other shelters ever since 🙂
Kitten season sucks because… even though they’re very cute, these unwanted cats and kittens usually end up on the streets to fend for themselves… Local animal shelters and rescue groups are often bombarded with these cats and kittens in large numbers and resources already hard to come by like food, money and space are further pushed to their limits.
These facilities which often take in thousands of adult animals every year, are now struggling to care for all of these homeless kittens and with that not only does the risk of illness increase, the senior cat adoptions typically decrease because they’re overlooked by potential adopters. After speaking with staff, volunteers and rescue groups who are attempting to cope with the overwhelming number of cats, it seems that the kitten seasons get longer and longer, not shorter and shorter!
Obviously the easiest way to try and control the number of unwanted cats is to SPAY & NEUTER your own cat/s and encourage others to be responsible and do the same. Unfixed cats are driven by their hormones and tend to sneak outdoors primarily in search of a mate… Mating just once can start a domino effect that can result in dozens, even hundreds or thousands of unwanted animals…
The number of cats and kittens cared for by shelters and rescue groups, especially during kitten season, will not drop overnight, here’s what YOU can do to help!
1. Spay or neuter your cats!
Cats can become pregnant as young as five months of age! Fortunately, kittens as young as two months and weighing two pounds or more can be safely fixed. Keeping your cats indoors is always the safest option and it’s especially important to do so before the cat is spayed or neutered. Find low cost spay and neuter services HERE
2. Help your local shelter
Donate supplies, money or your time… Contact your local shelter to find out what’s needed most.
3. Care for homeless or feral cats
Work with your local animal control or feral cat group to help manage your neighborhood’s feral and stray cat populations. More info here 🙂
4. Become a foster cat parent
Contact your local shelter or rescue group to learn more about becoming a foster parent for cats or kittens in need.
5. Adopt a cat!
The work being done at the San Diego Humane Society is amazing! They’re committed to saving every healthy and treatable animal that comes through their doors, just take a look at these numbers… 🙂
They also take part in the Clear The Shelters Day which we attended in 2015, a day that throughout San Diego county almost 800 pets found new homes and nationally 18,000!! 🙂
So I hope now you can see the big picture and realize why kitten season isn’t such a great thing, purrlease spread the word!
Thanks fur reading 🙂