Up Next – It’s Kitten Season

Up Next – It’s Kitten Season

Spring is here and we are slowly rolling into summer. Among the many things that are special to spring and summer, here is one more. Spring’s long days bring in many kittens – lots and lots of them!

Sweet Kitten in the Grass

Animal shelters from the Carolinas to California brace themselves for what can be only thought of as a downpour of kittens. The season is fondly known as “kitten season.” So, why the sudden increase in kitten population in April every year?

This is the time of the year – it starts in early spring and drags on to early fall –  when litter after litter of homeless kittens and pregnant cats come pouring in to the shelters, and shelters scramble to accommodate them all.

We all love the cute purrs and even more awesome cuddles they give us, but the consequence of over-population is anything but cute. The sad truth is that many of these poor kittens are born on the streets – in dirty alleys, behind dumpsters, etc. Some of these ill-fated kittens start life in rural areas, where they have the least chance of being rescued.

Kitten in Tree

These homeless kittens have a low chance of survival if not rescued, and most of them suffer and die at the hands of cruel people, being struck down by cars, succumbing to extremes in weather, or contracting deadly diseases.

Heraldextra.com says:

“According to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 75 percent of free-roaming kittens disappear or die before they are 6 months old. The 25 percent who manage to survive to this age will likely have litters of their own, creating even more kittens with nowhere to go.”

A dark truth is that, even when some kittens do get an accommodation, the older cats that have been at the shelter for a while must be euthanized to make space. However, shelters with limited-admission avoid this situation completely by turning animals away when they reach capacity, leaving the situation up to open-admission shelters to accommodate the overwhelming numbers.

Two Cats by a Rock

Neonatal kittens add an additional strain by requiring round-the-clock care and have to be bottle-fed frequently, as they come in without their mothers. This cannot be accomplished without the help of volunteers, and often times the volunteers are in short supply. Some shelters even go about organizing training sessions for foster families who take kittens home to care for, until they can be adopted.

Kitten Being Bottle Fed

We can all help alleviate kitten season by spreading awareness. Preventing the birth of more kittens is the best way. We know about the importance of spaying or neutering our own cats, and can can spread the word to our friends, relatives and neighbors.

Putting off spaying can result in “oops” litters. Did you know that kittens can become mothers themselves, and as early as 4 months! A cat that is not spayed can lead to a staggering 370,000 kittens in just seven years! Males are not that far behind either. Guardians of male cats must be aware that males can father kittens as early as 5 months of age. And one male can impregnate countless females!

Mama Cat Nursing Kittens

Many communities offer low-cost or free spay-neuter clinics that further aid the cause, and participate in TNR programs. The import thing is to take the step to help stem the kitty population. Curbing the numbers of stray kittens being born will not only help the overcrowded shelters, it also puts an end to what could be a miserable life for those countless unborn kitties. One less defenseless kitten on the road equals a better life for a helpless kitten that is already in a shelter.

Mama Cat and Kittens

We hope that this spring, we are able to come together as a community, and do what we can to help snip “kitten season” in the bud.

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46 Responses to "Up Next – It’s Kitten Season"

  1. That’s why all my kitty’s are spayed & neutered.I found a mama & her 6 kittens 3 years ago now,all of who I gave my home as their forever home to go along with my other 7 I already had.when Mama(Emily) stopped nursing her kittens she got spayed,when her kittens became 5 months old all of them were spayed & neutered.Love all my fur baby’s.

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    1. Great, your heart must be as big as your home to ha V e th ad t many babies with you. If only EVERYONE WOULD SPAY AND NEUTER ALL THEIR ANIMALS; that would mean less feral cats and less kitten’s and puppies starving, hit by cars, and less babies euthanized.

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  2. Don’t listen to the nonsense that you should allow your female cat to have one litter. Sex for them is very painful, and this belief just adds to the population. Cats don’t miss what they don’t know. Also, if possible, keep your cats indoors. They will live happily, healthily, much longer.

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  3. Here is a new fur baby coming to my house to eat,super afraid of people when he 1st came,but after a month of him seeing me bring him food,me talking to him while he is eating,& him now knowing I’m not going to hit or throw something at him,he is letting me stroke him.My neighbor said he has been sleeping(all winter) & hangs out in his door less garage on an old couch they have inside.I feel soon I will be able to scoop him up & take him to my vet to get him some tests to make sure he don’t have a communicable disease like feline leukemia or feline infectious peritonitis & if he is ok,he will be getting his shots,& neutered then he will join all my other inside fur baby’s so he too can have a forever home.I just hope nothing happens to him before he trusts me enough to scoop him up.Wish I had the resources(money) & land to start a kitty rescue of my own.We seem to have lots of stray kitty’s around here (mostly un-neutered males),& they all seem to come to my house to eat,I think they can sense I love kitty’s & of course I try to make friends with them all & fall in love with them all.What is heart breaking to me is that most of them seem to up & disappear before they get trusting enough & I can scoop them up to take them to my vet for a check.My street has loads of car traffic,& just 2 blocks east of me is a very busy 4 lane road.I hope this guy has the smarts to stay far away from that road.I worry about all the fur baby’s that don’t have a home.

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  4. That’s the only way to go especially if you are going to keep them inside ( I won’t let mine roam outside to dangerous) I think a lot of the strays around my area are due to people getting kittens then not having the knowledge or not caring & then don’t get them spayed or neutered & when the cat goes into heat & starts acting like a cat & starts marking because they are not spayed or neutered these people toss them out the door & don’t want the cat anymore because it is marking since their owners were not responsible.The poor kitty has to pay the price & become homeless.This is the exact reason I keep the female & her 6 kittens I found 3 years ago.The mama cat was so skinny she was actually starving to death but still trying to keep her kittens alive.Heres a picture of her when I found her*I am so glad she found my house & I followed her once I seen she had milk in her tees to find all her babies.When I took her to my vet,he said she might not make it she was so starved.But she did make it & she is fat & healthy now & all her babies are healthy & happy. Emily seems so grateful too,she is such a loving kitty.

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  5. At one time I had 18 ‘barn cats’. Everyone of them were spayed or neutered. When my vet was able to build a new equine surgery building I teased him saying he should have named it after us because it must have been our money that paid for it. I feed my barn cats also. Made warm shelters out of old sleeping bags and bales of straw inside the barn. There were always places for them to curl up together and conserve body heat. Wish people would not dump cats and kittens on people that have barns though. Not every barn welcomes them. A lot of them suffer a terrible fate.

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