Did you know this is kitten season? Shelters across the country are familiar with the term “kitten season” which arrives every year about this time. While the start of kitten season is not marked on any calendar, every year shelters are flooded with kittens beginning around springtime.
Cats that are not spayed, especially those residing in warmer climates, can go into heat throughout the year. However, most cats go into heat around January or February. Because the gestation period for cats is around 60 to 65 days, new kittens begin arriving every year starting around March. This is an adaptation that ensures kittens are born when they are most likely to survive: the weather is warmer and food is more plentiful.
Kitten season is a difficult time for shelters. There are already more homeless pets than there are people willing to adopt, so the influx of new kittens just adds to the problem. Additionally, when confronted with that adorable kitten, many potential adopters pass over adult cats, making them even more difficult to place in forever homes.
How can you help? Be sure your own cats are spayed or neutered. If you are able, adopt a homeless cat, or ask your shelter about fostering; very young kittens usually must be fostered until they are old enough to be returned to the shelter for adoption. Get involved with Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs in your own community. Many shelters are especially in need of volunteers willing to help during kitten season when shelters are overflowing with homeless pets.