Spring is a joyful time- flowers blooming, grass growing, warm days outdoors. For those in animal rescue, it can be stressful. It’s commonly known as the start of kitten season. Spring is the time of year when animals reproduce. For cats, though, it is just the start as they can keep on reproducing, having litter after litter, right up until the weather turns cold again. In our area, kitten season starts in early spring and lasts until fall.
Before Second Chance can attempt to find homes for the influx of kittens, there are often huge demands on staff and community. Not only the sheer number of kittens (challenging space and resources), but also the fact that many of these babies arrive without their mothers: who may be feral, killed on a road or by a predator, or, (this is often the case) well-meaning people erroneously believe they were abandoned.
If these kittens are not ready to be weaned, they require bottle feeding, being kept warm and safe, and hard work to just keep them alive. With their fragile immune systems and labor-intensive care and socialization needs, kittens are, tragically, the most vulnerable of all shelter residents. Kittens under four weeks old cannot eat on their own and they also need to be manually stimulated to urinate and defecate, which requires hands-on care every two to four hours.
What should you do if you find a litter that appears to be abandoned? What many people don’t realize is that the safest plan for the kittens ― and one that also decreases the burden on shelters ― is to leave the kittens where they are and call my staff here at Second Chance. They will direct you on the best approach, which usually entails first watching for the mother cat’s return. If mom does not return, then it is time to intervene and my staff will guide you.
As I hang out here at Second Chance waiting and waiting to be adopted, I often think about how many lives could be saved if kitten season could be prevented, or at least slowed down. In fact, there is a simple, effective solution — spay/neuter.
The folks here at Second Chance are doing their best to spay and neuter as many pets as possible to reduce pet overpopulation. They have affordable costs that are further reduced for low-income families. In February alone, they spayed and neutered 92 animals!
What can you do? Second Chance always needs foster homes to help with feeding and nurturing kittens. They also need funds to vaccinate, spay/neuter, and socialize the cats that come to us in the spring. I would love to see a future where kitten season is not a flood, but a mere trickle of adorable kittens coming in and going out to their forever homes (and compromising the chances for homeless adult cats like me in finding our people).
Yep, kitten season is not good for a guy like me, despite how handsome I am. I’m Cosmo, a solid 4-year-young boy kitty who is full of love for people, cats and even dogs. Please bring me home before I’m competing for attention with a bunch of fluffy, furry kittens!
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 28 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.