Skip to main content

Beacon Senior News

Kitten season is here

Apr 01, 2022 02:21PM ● By Jenna Kretschman

Spring is officially upon us, which means one thing to animal shelters: It’s kitten season! As you read this, hundreds of cats are reproducing in astronomical numbers. People are finding kittens in bushes, under trailers, inside sheds—and bringing them to shelters.

While kitten season is undoubtedly the cutest time of year, caring for the constant stream of tiny felines is time consuming, expensive and emotionally taxing. An estimated 80 percent of all kittens born each year are born to outdoor community cats, and many of these kittens don’t survive past a few weeks old due to illness and other inherent dangers of living on the streets. The ones who do survive often don’t receive the human socialization they need in time to become friendly house cats, and ultimately become feral, continuing to add to the population.

The good news? You can help save the lives of these kittens! Here are some ways you can help:

1. Ensure every cat you know has been spayed or neutered!
The best way to solve this problem is to prevent it. Think about your cat, your friends’ cats, your neighbors’ cats and the random cats that show up on your porch. Make sure those cats are spayed or neutered, and educate other cat owners about the importance of doing the same. If you need assistance with the cost of surgery, or to borrow a humane cat trap, reach out to local animal welfare organizations for help.

2. Know what to do if you find kittens.
You may stumble into a litter of kittens this spring or summer. Your next step will depend on their age, temperament and condition. When in doubt, reach out to an animal shelter for guidance.

If the kittens are newborn and look reasonably clean, quiet and plump, it’s likely that Mom is nearby. Newborns have the best chance of survival when being cared for by their mom. If the kittens are safe where they are and Mom is feral, it’s best to monitor the family until the babies are weaned around five weeks old. At that point, you can bring them into your house (or coordinate with a shelter for placement), and don’t forget to get Mom spayed!

However, if you find newborn kittens and it’s clear that Mom is not coming back or the kittens are in danger, contact an animal shelter immediately for further instruction.

3. Donate kitten supplies to animal shelters.
Between crucial supplies like formula, baby bottles, heating disks, food and litter, and medical care, the cost of raising even just one orphaned kitten can add up. When you donate kitten supplies or monetary gifts to animal shelters, you truly help save lives.

4. Sign up to foster kittens!
Animal shelters can only care for so many animals on-site. It’s simply impossible to care for the hundreds of kittens we meet every year without the help of generous foster families. Bottle-fed kittens, weaned kittens, under-socialized kittens, nursing mom cats, and kittens with medical needs all require the love of a foster home.

To learn more about how you can help, contact these local animal welfare organizations.

Roice-Hurst Humane Society

Mesa County Animal Services

Grand Valley Pets Alive

Spay Colorado