Kittens waiting to beadopted at SpokAnimal Care in Spokane, WA.

Kitten Season - How to Help the Thousands in Need

Jeanne Blandford | May 04, 2021

Kitten Season – when you hear that term do you think of a basket full of adorable kittens, all looking up at you with those gorgeous loving eyes… their quiet purr, an invitation to pick them up and take them home?

This is a lovely vision indeed. But the reality is that during kitten season hundreds of thousands of homeless kittens are born each year.  The “season” usually lasts somewhere between early spring into mid-fall while the weather is warm. Cats, unlike most animals, can have multiple litters in one year and each litter can contain 4-8 kittens.

During this season of perpetual fluff, the shelters find themselves inundated with kittens. The demand to house, feed and care for these kittens and their mothers is daunting.

Mama and kittens at SpokAnimal C.A.R.E
Photo Credit: SpokAnimal C.A.R.E., Spokane, WA

Things you can do help take some of the burden off of shelters:

  1. Adopt – of course, this is the best way to help!  If you are thinking about adopting, always look towards the future. They will need food and may have medical concerns. But as those tiny balls of fluff grow into adulthood, so will your emotional bond. The love for your cat as you share the years will be unmeasurable, undeniable.
  2. Foster – fostering is a wonderful way to help reduce some of the strain shelters experience during kitten season. Often these kittens are so tiny that they need to be bottle fed so many volunteer hands are needed. Fostering can also be great way to see if you are really cut out to be a pet parent. You’ll quickly realize the responsibilities of pet parenting. Warning! You’ll also experience the loving bond that can quickly develop.
  3. Volunteer – shelters are often looking for caring, dedicated individuals. You can put your expertise to work whether it be on the administrative side, medical, feeding, maintenance or fund-raising. If they have a spay/neuter program you might like to put your efforts to the prevention of unwanted kittens.
  4. Donate  - food, money supplies like cleaning products, towels and cages. You can organize a food/supply collection in your community.
  5. Trap and release -  pertains to feral cats that are so used to an outside environment that they would never socialize indoors with humans. Many communities offer this humane spay/neuter program as a way to keep cat population down.

To note: If you surrender adult cats or kittens, check the rescue organization’s policy on the pets in their charge. Will they euthanize the kittens if not adopted within a certain period?  If the shelter is labeled a no-kill shelter, you can be better assured that the kittens will be safe (pending any medical or behavioral issues).

Kitten season is a time to celebrate our feline friends.  If we look toward our individual talents and resources, we can help these furbabies grow into healthy adult cats while helping each cat find a healthy, loving home.

Where Healthy Begins®