Kitten Season: The Cutest Time of Year
Spring has sprung, and we have officially entered the cutest season of the year - kitten season! Generally regarded as the months of April through October, kitten season aligns with the timeframe during which cats most commonly go into heat and give birth.
Despite the adorable name, there is a dark side to kitten season. Let’s take a look at what you can expect this season and how you can get involved.
How many kittens are born during kitten season?
While there’s no way to track the exact number of kittens born each year, we do know that approximately 530,000 cats are euthanized in U.S. shelters every year. This is largely due to the overabundance of kittens born to strays. It is estimated that 80% of kittens born each year in the U.S. are birthed by outdoor cats. Unfortunately, a huge number of these outdoor kittens are taken to crowded and overwhelmed shelters and often risk euthanasia.
In an effort to reduce the overpopulation of outdoor cats, individuals and groups throughout the nation are involved in Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) efforts to limit breeding. If you are interested in learning more about TNR and how you can make a difference in your local community, here is a helpful resource.
What should I do if I find a litter of kittens outside?
Roughly 80% of kittens born in the wild do not live to see a full year. It is crucial that these kitties get the care they need as quickly as possible, especially if they are orphaned or abandoned. It can be difficult to determine whether a kitten has been abandoned or simply left alone for a short amount of time. The ASPCA has a useful guide to help you identify the kittens' age and health status to determine the proper route of action.
Is now a good time to foster?
Yes, this is the purrfect time to foster! Whether you’re looking to dip your toes in the water for the first time or you’re an experienced kitten foster, there is plenty of room for everyone to help out during kitten season. Since shelters are often overwhelmed during this time of year, foster homes allow them to open up additional space at the shelter for more kitties in need. Some of these kittens require high levels of medical attention, bottle feeding every few hours, isolation from other kitties, etc., so it’s important to talk to your local rescue to find a setup that’s right for you.
I’ve been thinking about adopting. Should I do that now?
As with fostering, kitten season provides an excellent opportunity to adopt a new kitten. If you aren’t quite sure what to expect, here are some tips to help you choose the right furry friend and prepare to welcome them home. Shelters and rescue organizations commonly promote adoptions via kitten parties and adoption events, so be on the lookout for chances to mingle with some kittens and find the right one for you!
Kitten season is an excellent chance to get involved in your local cat community, foster or adopt, or just get out and play with some kittens at an adoption event. If you adopt and need an in-home cat sitter to provide your kitty with the quality care they deserve, Meowtel is here to help!
Photo by The Lucky Neko on Unsplash