Kitten season is the time of year when many cats give birth. With so many kittens being born at the same time, animal shelters and rescue groups, including Sheltering Hands, are flooded with multiple litters of kittens every week. Young kittens that are not fully weaned must be bottle fed and cared for around the clock.
As you can guess, kitten season is a result of too many cats who are not spayed or neutered. At Sheltering Hands, we strive to educate people on the positives of fixing your cat before they become able to reproduce. Here are some positives to consider:
- Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
- Neutering provides major health benefits for your male. Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.
- Your spayed female won’t go into heat. While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house!
- Your neutered male will be much better behaved. Neutered cats focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Yowling, roaming, and fighting are all common with unneutered male cats. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
- Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat. Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
- It is highly cost-effective. The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!
- Your pet doesn’t need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth.Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children—especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.
- Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation. Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.
The easiest way to help reduce the overwhelming numbers of unwanted cats is to spay or neuter your own cat and encourage others to do the same. Unaltered cats are driven by their hormones and tend to sneak outdoors primarily in search of a mate. Mating just once can start a domino effect that can result in dozens, even hundreds or thousands of unwanted animals.
At 5 months, a cat can become pregnant!
These unwanted cats and kittens, when not left on the street to fend for themselves, usually turn up in large numbers at the local animal shelter and other rescue groups.Resources already hard to come by—like food, money, and space—are often stretched to their limit as shelters and other rescue groups, which often take in thousands of adult animals every year, are inundated with homeless kittens. As shelters and rescue groups struggle to house as many cats as possible, the risk of illness increases. The chances that an adult cat will find a home typically drop—they are generally overlooked by potential adopters when cute kittens are in abundance. The vast numbers of cats cared for by shelters and other rescue groups, especially during kitten season, will not drop overnight and will not drop without you. Some ways you can help-
1. Spay or neuter your cats
Cats can become pregnant as young as five months of age. Fortunately, kittens as young as two months and weighing two pounds can be safely altered. Many people ask their veterinarian to spay or neuter their pet. If you have trouble affording the procedure, please see our resources links below for some suggestions. Of course, when you adopt from Sheltering Hands ( and most other animal rescue groups) your cat/kitten will already be altered! Your adoption fee includes spay/neuter surgery, all required vaccinations, and microchip implant.
2. Help your local shelter during kitten season (and all year)
Donate money, supplies or your time. We would LOVE to have your help at our adoption events, as a foster family or as part of our highly successful TNR program. Give us a call and let us know how you would like to help our kitties.
3. Adopt a cat- We have many wonderful cats and kittens looking for their forever homes. Won’t you consider welcoming one into your home?
Resources for getting your cat fixed
Operation PetSnip– a Gainesville based low cost spay/neuter program for dogs and cats-http://www.nmhp.net/Home/tabid/116/Default.aspx
Care Credit– a credit card company that is focused on medical and veterinary care with various payment plans, some with no interest for a set period of time http://www.carecredit.com/vetmed/whycc.html
Neuter commuter– a Marion County service providing low cost spay/neuter services-http://www.marioncountyfl.org/departments-agencies/department-a-z/animal-services/about-us/neuter-commuter
Neuter Commuter April calendar– http://www.marioncountyfl.org/departments-agencies/department-a-z/solid-waste/animal-services-events-calendar-view-copy-
Low cost vaccine clinics in our area– http://www.marioncountyfl.org/home/showdocument?id=2818
Local veterinary offices in our area– http://www.marioncountyfl.org/home/showdocument?id=2924