Kitten Season is coming! While it sounds all cute and fluffy, it’s incredibly stressful for our staff. Kitten season is the yearly influx of pregnant cats and orphaned kittens that happens every spring and summer. It’s already started, as we have three newborn litters and their moms coming in today. In our area, kitten season starts in early spring and lasts until fall, which means dozens of kittens will be in our care at any given time.

We need our community to step up and help. No matter how hard we work, a shelter is not the best place for tiny babies or stressed-out new moms. We rely on trusted foster volunteers to help, and we provide all the training and supplies needed.

The most time-intensive need is with fostering orphans. When we get vulnerable babies, whose mothers have disappeared, we step in and do whatever a mother cat would do to keep them alive. Foster homes are the single best tool we must make sure these babies survive. That means keeping them warm, bottle feeding, stimulating them to urinate and defecate, and making sure they are safe and healthy.

Bottle-feeding newborn kittens requires an around-the-clock commitment. For the first two weeks of their lives, kittens need to be fed every two hours. They will slowly require less frequent feedings, but it will be four weeks before they start to wean. For the first three weeks, you will need to stimulate them to go to the bathroom with each feeding. While this is a big-time commitment at first, it’s an incredibly rewarding experience.

We also need people who can provide foster homes for pregnant cats to give birth and for mother cats with new babies. Providing a quiet place, careful monitoring, and allowing the mom to care for the babies are the keys to a successful foster home. This kindness helps so much, allowing both mother and kittens to thrive.

As kitten season starts up, so will our calls about abandoned litters. 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 watch for the mother cat’s return. If mom does not return, then it is time to intervene. Reach out to cat rescue experts for tips.

To learn more about fostering and rescuing these most-vulnerable felines reach out to our foster coordinator:  A good online source of information is:

Call us the leftovers from the 2023 kitten season. We are still waiting for our homes and will soon have a lot of little fluffball kittens to complete with. We missed out on being adoptable fluffballs when we were infected with calicivirus as kittens and had to be isolated. We are now symptom-free, but other cats in the home should be vaccinated.

For thirty years, the Animal Resource Center and Shops of Second Chance Humane Society have been serving Ouray, San Miguel, and Montrose Counties. Our adoption hours are from Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. You can view our shelter pets and services online at Connecting Pets, People, and Community While Saving Lives.