Caring for Kittens
Springtime is also Kitten Season! During this time of year, there is an overabundance of kittens being born. As delightful as that may sound, the reality is quite the opposite for kittens born homeless, abandoned or orphaned as newborns since the chances for their survival are slim without human intervention.
What is Kitten Season?
"Kitten Season" is the time of the year when animal shelters are overrun by kittens because birth rates are so high. It starts with a few litters showing up in spring, but by summer they are pouring in. The numbers can be so great that it becomes an immediate challenge for shelter staff and rescue volunteers to care for them. Long term outcome—more homeless animals and we know what that means!
How does this happen?
Many unaltered female cats come into heat by 4 months of age. They start breeding when it starts getting warmer and give birth around spring. Cats can continue to breed, having one litter after another, between March to October, just before the cold weather arrives.
Unfortunately, MHC and other rescue groups cannot save every single cat out there. But we can try to help as much as we can.
What can I do to help kittens?
Make sure your pet cat(s) are spayed or neutered to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
An unaltered female can become pregnant at four months of age. Your veterinarian can guide you on what is involved and the cost for spaying or neutering your cat. If cost is a consideration, and it may well be, especially during these financially trying times exacerbated by the pandemic, find a low-cost spay neuter clinic.
Participate in your community’s trap-neuter-return program for feral cats.
A feral cat is an un-owned domestic cat that lives outdoors in colonies and often remains hidden from humans. Feral cats may breed over dozens of generations. Trap–neuter–return (TNR), also known as trap–neuter–release, is a method for attempting to humanely and effectively manage the population of free-roaming domestic cats. The process involves live-trapping the cats, having them spayed or neutered, ear-tipped for identification and, if possible, vaccinated, then releasing them back into their territory. In Midland, there are active TNR efforts by volunteers in our community. Learn more about TNR here.
We can always use an extra set of hands at the Adoption Center. There are numerous jobs to be done for many skill levels and capabilities and the rewards are many. Just ask how you can help this kitten season. Contact VOLUNTEER@midlandhumane.org
Fostering saves lives. Pulling animals from the streets or the shelter where they are in danger of being euthanized and giving them safe shelter helps buy cats/kittens time while waiting for kennel space to open up at the Adoption Center and other no-kill rescues who will take cats and put them up for adoption.
For Kitten Season specifically, we are looking for foster homes who are able to commit 2-4 months (slightly longer than the usual foster term). During this period, kittens will be fully vetted (vaccinated, spayed/neutered) before they can be admitted into the Adoption Center. If you are interested in fostering, please fill out the Cat Foster Application Form.
If you can't go out there and rescue kittens yourself, you can support the cause through financial donation. Any amount will be appreciated and is tax deductible.
I found kittens. What do I do now?