Springtime brings warm weather, flowers, birds chirping, and kittens. Yes, kittens. There is a season for kittens and it is now. It typically starts in the spring, peaks in late spring then ends in the fall. Female cats go into heat when the weather warms up. While everybody loves kittens, the influx of them to shelters, rescue organizations, and even veterinarians can be overwhelming.
As an animal lover, there are several things you can do to help.
- Spay or neuter your cats. This will help control the cat population. It’s always safest to keep your cat indoors but if they get out and aren’t fixed you could have more kittens on your hands. Unaltered cats often have hormones that go crazy – and they might try to get out to find a mate. Cats can become pregnant as young as five months of age. Kittens can be fixed starting at about 8 weeks old and weighing two pounds. If you are having trouble affording the fee to get your cat fixed, there are many local groups that offer low cost or free spay/neuter. Check here for some programs in your area.
- Volunteer with a Rescue or Shelter. Local rescues and shelters are almost entirely staffed through volunteers and there are many ways to help out. Volunteers can foster cats or kittens, show the cats at adoption events, maintain any enclosures the rescue or shelter manages, socialize the cats or kittens, help with outreach, help with fundraising events, or much more. Donations, such as money and supplies, are essential to these organizations as well.
- Trap, neuter, release (TNR). There are many feral cats living on the streets. These cats can often fend for themselves but there are ways to help them. The most important way is to ensure that they are fixed so they do not reproduce. There are many local “TNR” programs where the cats will be trapped, neutered then released back to their neighborhoods. These programs have proved very effective at managing cat populations. You can find more about how to help out feral cats here.
- Adopt a cat. Adding a cat to your home (or another cat) can be fun and rewarding. Your current cats will often welcome another playmate or cuddle buddy. Plus you are saving a life, which is the most rewarding thing of all.