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Published on May 22, 2017. Last modified on May 23, 2017
Kitten season and Mother cats at risk
Late Spring & Summer are known as “kitten season” because the warm weather acts as a trigger for bringing unspayed female cats into heat, usually every 3 weeks. One female cat can produce at least 2 litters during these months, many of whom will be euthanized because of lack of space in the shelters.
Many people are not aware that during this time, their are too many kittens to get adopted and many will end being euthanized. If you’ve never visited an animal shelter in June, you might not be able to imagine the multitude of kittens up for adoption. It’s cute, but it’s sad at the same time, knowing that not all the kitties will get homes.Mama Cats at Risk
What about the mother cats? Once their litters have been placed, the momma cats need homes, too. But who wants a adult cat when they can adopt a fluffy little wee kitten instead? The same is true for the other adult cats in the shelter — the euthanasia rate for this population jumps considerably during warmer months. And forget about feral litters that good Samaritans bring to the shelter. If the kittens are young enough and still healthy, they will probably find homes, but the mama cats will almost certainly be euthanized.
Most feral litters aren’t healthy. It’s common for kittens to have conjunctivitis and upper respiratory infections, especially ferals. Although both illnesses are easily treatable with a course of wide-spectrum antibiotics, infected kittens are usually euthanized immediately unless a rescue takes them. Shelters simply don’t have the budgets to treat all those sick kittens.
How you can help
- Spay or neuter your cats
Young cats can become pregnant as soon as five months of age. Fortunately, kittens as young as two months and weighing two pounds can be safely altered. Many people ask their veterinarian to spay or neuter their pet. If you have trouble affording the fee, check this list of groups offering spay/neuter assistance. And while it's always safest to keep your cat inside, it's especially important to do so before the cat is spayed or neutered. Keep your cat happy indoors and learn how to provide safe outdoor time.
- Help your local shelter during kitten season (and all year)
Donate supplies, money or your time. Contact your local shelter to find out what's needed most.
- Care for homeless or feral (not tame) cats in your area
Work with your local animal control or feral cat group to help manage your neighborhood's feral and stray cat populations. More about helping feral cats »
- 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. Click here for a list of local shelters!
- Adopt a cat
Open your home to new cat or adopt a playmate for your existing pets. Check out our adoption page to find a new feline friend!