Spring has sprung at long-last, flowers and trees are blooming and we’re all grateful for the milder weather after winter.
However, along with spring comes KITTEN SEASON.
What is Kitten Season?
Kitten Season is the time of the year when in-tact feral and stray cats begin to have babies. In much of the warmer climates, cats produce offspring year-round. But that period from April through October is prime kitten season, no matter where you live.
Spend some time at your local rescue or shelter and you’ll soon see why this is a problem. Aside from the many adult cats who need homes, many of those kittens will find their way into the system and will now also be in need of homes. Rescues and shelters are overrun with babies as well-meaning people find them and bring them in to get help. Also, with those adorable little kittens in need of homes, people are less likely to adopt that adult cat who has been patiently waiting for his second chance.
The Growing Feline Population
The ever-growing feral and stray cat population has caused severe changes in our ecological system. According to a 2016 study on invasive species impacts, feral and stray cats have rendered 63 animal species extinct. Those are species we can never ever get back, and the impact of those missing creatures is vast. (see article: https://www.nola.com/archive/article_eb5c5aae-d596-552f-995d-6dfbe87ce68f.html).
Here’s a sobering statistic: Just 1 un-spayed female can be responsible for over 2-million cats over an 8-year period. Multiply that by how many feral and stray female cats are breeding at-will, that’s a lot of kittens! Conversely, spaying 1 female cat can prevent over 2-million unwanted kittens from being borne. (see chart: https://www.animalleague.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/cats-multiply-pyramid.pdf )
Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
The obvious benefit of spaying and neutering is, of course, to cut down on feline population growth. The more cats that are produced each year, the more cats there are living on the streets homeless. Even if feral and stray kittens make their way into a shelter or rescue, those organizations are already overrun with cats needing homes. This equals more cats being euthanized, simply because there are not enough homes for all them.
Additionally, spaying and neutering will have a positive impact on our environment; there won’t be as many cats out there hunting birds and other small species for food. Hopefully, no others animals will become extinct if there are fewer cats on the street hunting for dinner.
If those reasons don’t compel you to spay/neuter your cat, consider this: Spayed female cats will not develop uterine cancer or infections such as pyometra, nor will they develop breast cancer. Neutering a male cat eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer and will also cut down on his propensity to wander, fight, and spray. Both species are better behaved in general when they are de-sexed.
3 Way You Can Help
There are ways you can make an impact right now on just how many kittens will be borne this Kitten Season and future kitten seasons:
- Spay/Neuter: Spaying and Neutering your indoor/outdoor cat will guarantee he or she isn’t out there making more kittens.
- TNR: The benefits of TNR are many, but of course the main benefit is reducing the growth of the feral feline population.
- Foster: You can foster and adult cat or kittens to cut down on euthanasia and help these precious beings find their forever home.
Kittens are cute, but we need to be responsible cat people and spay/neuter our cats. Every furry face deserves a chance a life and curtailing the explosive growth of the feline population is the only way to ensure each cat has a life to live.