Kitten Season is almost here! So what is kitten season? According to Humane Society of the United States, “Kitten season is the time of year when cats give birth, flooding animal shelters and rescue groups across the nation with homeless litters. Kitten season is really three seasons in one, starting in spring, peaking in late spring or early summer, and ending in fall.”
And why does kitten season occur? Kitten Season occurs because too many kittens are born when cats who are not spayed or neutered mate. Obviously, the easiest way to help reduce the overwhelming numbers of unwanted litters is to have your own cats spayed and neutered (even if they’re indoor only!) and encourage others to do the same.
So what are some other ways that you as a member of the community can help with kitten season? With the influx of kittens, you may find kittens outdoors. Though sometimes the best thing for that kitten or kittens is to take them to your home, sometimes the best thing is to leave them be. Please take into consideration the following five tips to help kittens this Kitten Season by Allie Cat Allies:
Tip #1- Leave kittens with their mom. If you know the mother is present, kittens (especially those four weeks and under) are much safer with her and their chance of survival is much greater. If you come across a litter of kittens and are unsure of the mom’s location and if the kittens seem healthy and are out of harm’s way, it’s best to monitor from a distance, as the mom cat is most likely out hunting for food. Visit Alley Cat Allies page on what to do if you find a kitten outdoors for more information.
Tip #2- Don’t bring neonatal (kittens 4 weeks or younger) kittens to an animal shelter. Although here at Ark-Valley Humane Society we are fortunate enough to have foster homes that we can place neonatal kittens in, the shelter environment is a less than ideal place for kittens to remain healthy. Ark-Valley Humane Society is here to be a resource for you, so if you are unsure what to do with kittens, please fill out our kitten questionnaire and we’ll be in touch with you shortly to figure out a plan.
Tip #3-Volunteer as a kitten foster parent for your local shelter. Yes, yes and YES! We can always use new foster homes for our pregnant mom cats and their kittens. Join our team of amazing foster homes and feel confident knowing you are doing lifesaving work. Please fill out a foster application and our volunteer coordinator will be in touch with you via email.
Tip #4-Support and practice Trap Neuter Return. According to Allie Cat Allies, “TNR is the only effective and humane way of stabilizing and reducing community cat populations.”In a TNR program, community cats are humanely trapped and brought to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and ear tipped (the universal symbol that a cat has been neutered and vaccinated) before being returned to their outdoor homes or if needed and in the best interest of the cat, re-homed to a plush barn home. Did you know that here at AVHS we have an active TNR program in place? In 2016 alone, 168 feral or community cats were spayed and/or neutered through our program. To learn more about our TNR program or to get involved and volunteer, click here.
Tip #5-Advocate for programs and policies that protect cats. Help us get the word out about the importance of spay and neuter, our TNR program, and our volunteer program. We couldn’t do it without the help and support of this community.
Along with these tips, here are some additional ways you can partner with Ark-Valley Humane Society to make a difference in kitten season:
-If you or someone you know find kittens, fill out this kitten questionnaire and someone from AVHS will be in contact with you to help figure out the best plan for the kittens.
-Volunteer with AVHS as a kitten foster parent. We’d love to have you join our team! Fill out a foster application today!
-Check out this awesome poster from Alley Cat Allies about figuring out the best plan for outdoor kittens: KittenOutdoors_Poster
-Last but certainly not least, get your own pets spayed and neutered! If you need financial assistance with getting your cat(s) spayed or neutered, please fill out this application and someone will be in touch with you.