Why Kitten Season Sucks!

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!

ADOPT A CAT copy 2

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 🙂

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  1. I am currently a volunteer for GRASP We are a no-kill org. We use Petco and fosters.We go into 3 kill shelters every day and rescue as many animals as possible. We too have space and financial limitations. My Princess was a GRASP rescue adopted 4 years ago, recently adopted another of our rescues, Calli Rose, my little peanut who trills. Oh my heart. i try to foster 1 cat but am in danger of eviction, as I am only allowed 2. My dream is The Cat House on the Kings. My Rosey had 5 kittens before she was 1 yr. old. Happy to say we adopted out all of them. Wish I could do so much more. PS love your boys

  2. A big huge YES YES YES!!! This is what my hubby and I do in our neighborhood – we are HUGE TNR advocates and we educate everyone we know about this! We have 5 furbabies who we have rescued and adore and a neighborhood feral colony we feed daily! Spay and neuter is the only way to get this under control! Thanks so much for helping to get the word out – it’s vital to control the kitty population rather than euthanize!

  3. Thank you for your post! I’m helping a friend with a fundraiser for one of our local animal rescues. We’re focusing on TNR and spay/neuter education. I’ll be sharing this post to help educate people while we’re promoting our fundraiser. Most people don’t understand the importance of spaying and neutering their pets, and they really don’t understand the health and safety issues that go along with population booms! Thanks again for a great post!

  4. I agree. Spay or neuer your pets. All those lovely faces one passes by in most animal shelters do NOT make it out. They are euthanized. That thought scares me. Those senior cats that didn’t get adopted during kitten times …….. Sad. Very simple…..
    Spay or neuter. The seniors are really great cats.

  5. my cat adopted us, and I would never turn him away. first thing we had dine was to neuter him. job done. loads of kittens left to be adopted. think about it.

    • I’m in Maine too. Because of the inroads we have made with spay/neuter education we are importing cats and dogs from down south where they still have a high over population.

      When I started fostering kittens in 2002, I dreamed of being put out of business, and I’m nearly there. I was constantly scrambling to get kittens this year. It is so nice to know that there aren’t as many cats that are suffering, but as someone who has been fostering for 14 years, it is going to be hard on me to not have kittens to care for year round.

  6. Don’t baby your pets! Spay or neuter them as soon as they reach 2 months and or 2 pounds!
    This is the only surgery I whole heartedly support for every pet in America.

  7. IF there were GOOD homes for every single kitten – good home defined as someone who is willing and able to take proper care of a cat, as in feeding them, getting them spayed or neutered, making sure they had the proper vet care, as well as providing the love and affection all cats need/want – then kitten season would not be a bad thing.

    Since there is a huge gap between number of good homes available and the number of kittens and cat who are left to fend for themselves, then, yes, Kitten Season does, indeed, SUCK.

  8. Chris, bless you for all you and your wife do. Your insight and kind way of educating all is well received and passed on to many more cat lovers and animal lovers. You are unsung heroes! Please continue to do all you do. Whole hearted thank you!

    Another Chris

  9. Kitten season is coming way too fast this year! It is surprising how quickly the cat population can grow. Hopefully, one day we will get the population under control so that all cats can live a better life. 🙂

  10. I just got word from the owner of our local no-kill special needs cat rescue & sanctuary that kitten season officially began today, with the call to take a pregnant cat in. Last year, there were about 19 kittens that came to Silver Cloud to raise & re-home. It’s not a large shelter. I attempted to foster 4 bottle babies while still caring for my own critters, one of whom is disabled, & that was too much on this old lady. So I took in 3 weaned kittens later in the season. These little ones were the product of one family allowing their cats to mate with each other even though they were mother/son & siblings. These 3 were very fortunate & are now ready for adoption. And I’ve volunteered to foster as many as I can this year. Right now I have a broken hand, so I won’t be available for a few weeks.

    Watching the videos & reading the article brought tears & pain. I also think that kittens can be quite adorable, but the more I see, the less I’m able to see the adorableness, since I know what more kittens being brought into the world means. The senior ones have my heart & I prefer adopting them over kittens any day; partly because I know there are plenty of adopters who want the little ones & not so many want the older ones. But mainly because I just love the old ones.

    So, folks please pay attention to all this information here & help by getting your own pets spayed & neutered & also by helping with TNR in your area. Unfortunately there aren’t any laws requiring pets to be fixed or that darling little calico kitten down the street would have been spayed by now!

    • Thanks so much for all the work you’re doing, foster parents are PAWSOME and I will be making a video about how great fostering is soon 🙂

  11. I do a few hours at PAWS in NE Philadelphia in general cat care , which includes a lot of laundry, dish cleaning, toy gathering , socialization and comforting of cats of all ages, etc. Kitten season , is always dreaded, because there is never enough room for all the stray or owned unaltered adult cats that have litters. The number of kittens just two unaltered cats can generate is enormous. And many more cats than two are unfixed. It isn’t cute , at the high kill public shelter, where I used to volunteer , to see armloads and boxfulls of healthy looking kittens being carried off in the direction of the euthanasia area. I’ve witnessed this with my own eyes. Or to see little kittens and cats hit by cars , tortured by people, and poisoned. PAWS is a rescue and they only have so much room and help in their small branches . Animal control has to take all animals surrendered and many do not leave alive. Enough said?

  12. I now volunteer a few hours a week at the rescue PAWS in NE Philadelphia, that deals mostly with cats and kittens, because of it’s size. I do lot’s of laundry, cleaning of dishes, cleaning and labeling cages in the adoption room, answering potential adopter’s questions, and socializing, petting, and fussing with the adoption cats. I see how the Maternity room is crowded lately with kittens , that hopefully and usually do get fosters from our great network. But we have limited space and don’t take surrendered cats from walk ins. Animal Care and Control Team does that, and because they are the city shelter, they must take in all surrenders and have limited space. So they are sadly a kill shelter. I used to volunteer for them too. I watched with my own teary eyes, while armloads of beautiful healthy looking kittens are pulled from the crowded maternity and walked to the euthanasia room. And cart loads of kittens and cats on the adoption floor. Their volunteers work feverishly to get fosters , bottle feeders, and adopters , but they are up against the statistics. A high percentage of cats and kittens are time stamped for euthanasia. Especially during kitten season. TNR is very important. It saves lives and prevents overpopulation. I’ve watched cat colonies , and seen kittens and cats hit by cars, tortured by humans, and poisoned. Please spay neuter your pet. Keep them indoors and vetted. Microchip them. Don’t discard animals on their own.

Written by catmanchris

I'm owned by internet kitties Cole & Marmalade, I'm a lifelong cat fan and hope to continue to both entertain and educate with the videos I produce and the blog posts I create

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