When temperatures rise each spring, it marks the beginning of “kitten season,” the time of year when millions of kittens are born and brought to animal shelters nationwide. Unfortunately, few of these kittens find adoptive homes. Many, if not most, are killed in shelters.
Cats have an approximately 60-day gestation period, so spring kittens are being conceived right now, in January and February. In addition, cats can become pregnant as early as age four months of age, so last year’s kittens can be producing this year’s litters.
“Before the ice thaws, the cats are already pregnant,” said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies. “The time for prevention is now—preventing new litters and preventing the needless deaths of millions of cats in animal shelters.”
Alley Cat Allies urges community members to have their pet cats spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Not only does neutering prevent new litters of kittens, it improves the cat’s health.
“This is also a crucial time to neuter neighborhood stray and feral cats,” said Robinson. “Through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), we are able to stabilize the population and decrease the number of cats entering shelters. The cats that remain no longer undergo the stresses of mating and pregnancy.”
Trap-Neuter-Return is a long-term, comprehensive community program that stabilizes the feral cat population humanely. Cats are trapped, neutered, vaccinated, and returned to their outdoor homes. Trap-Neuter-Return is official policy in cities from Washington, DC to Chicago to Oklahoma City, and it is successfully practiced in every landscape nationwide.
Alley Cat Allies provides a number of resources on their website (www.alleycat.org) including step-by-step instructions and videos on how to carry out TNR. Individuals can find more help at www.alleycat.org/GetHelp or request a list of local resources and feral cat organizations at www.alleycat.org/response.
About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 260,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Their website is www.alleycat.org.