Kittens Are Coming This Spring ... 20 Million Of Them
If you're thinking of adopting a cat, it's a good time of year: an estimated 20 million kittens will be born this spring. Which means shelters across America are on high kitten alert, and working to adopt out the cats they already have to make room.
We're just beginning "kitten season," the time of year when the weather warms and thousands of new litters are born to unfixed cats. Most of those 20 million kittens won't have homes, so shelters are preparing to save as many little lives as possible.
Newborn kittens require a huge amount of care, and not all shelters are equipped to care for them. When well-meaning rescuers separate newborn kittens from their mothers, things get even harder for the shelters that do take them in. Without their moms, newborns need round-the-clock bottle feedings.
"It gets unbelievably busy," Lyn Beurrier, head vet tech for the Humane Society of Marion County in Florida told the Ocala Star Banner. "It's the hardest, most stressful time of the year."
The San Diego Humane Society in Southern California expects to take in 2,000 kittens this spring. The shelter has a specialized "Kitten Nursery Program," which relies on volunteer fosters and donations to care for the youngest, most vulnerable cats.
The group even hosted a "kitten shower" so that generous animal lovers can help provide much-needed supplies, like receiving blankets and heating pads. You can donate to the registry here.
Kitten nurseries across the country are requesting donations of bottles, food, blankets and beds to prepare. In many warmer states, the rush has already started.
"Kitten season is starting! This litter of six is lucky because the person who found them also brought us their mom," The SPCA of Louisiana posted in a Facebook update on Saturday, adding a plea for volunteers. "Help the Kitten Krewe this kitten season and become a foster parent!"
The best way to end this yearly flood of kittens is to spay and neuter your cats, but preventative steps are too late for the millions of kittens who will arrive at shelters in the coming weeks. Consider helping out during kitten season by becoming a foster parent, or stop by your local humane society to see if they need any donations.