OAKLAND — "Kitten Season" has such a joyful ring to it. But in the animal welfare community, we know its weightier meaning.
It's the time of year when unfixed homeless cats have their litters and shelters become overwhelmed, straining resources for all of the animals. The newborns, sometimes orphaned by their own young mothers, require specialized care and frequently overnight resources that municipal shelters struggle to provide. Community partners and volunteers can't fill the gaps entirely.
Cat Town's mission is to give every cat a chance, and that has meant focusing on sick, stressed and senior cats we pull from shelter cages. It has also meant the Forgotten Kitten Project, which focuses on older kittens who didn't get enough positive human interaction in those early formative months and need extra time and attention before placing them up for adoption. All of our work supports our local municipal shelter and regional groups. With every donation and visit to Cat Town you are already supporting our efforts to alleviate this burden.
But there are even more ways each of us can make a difference during this challenging time of year. Here are five steps compiled by the Humane Society of the United States.
1. ALWAYS Spay or neuter your cats
Cats can become pregnant as young as five months of age. But they can be spayed or neutered at two months or two pounds. If you have trouble affording the fee, the Humane Society has a national registry of groups offering spay/neuter assistance or visit the Oakland Animal Services page for Bay Area resources. And while it's always safest to keep your cat inside, it's especially important to do so before the cat is spayed or neutered. Keep your cat happy indoors and learn how to provide safe outdoor time.
2. Help your local shelter during kitten season (and all year)
Donate supplies, money or your time. Contact your local shelter to find out what's needed most. You can also volunteer at your local shelter's adoption events or promotions.
3. Care for homeless or community cats in your area
Work with your local animal control or feral cat group to help manage your neighborhood's community and stray cat populations. Learn more about community cats through Alley Cat Allies.
4. Become a foster cat parent
Contact your local shelter or rescue group to learn more about becoming a foster parent for cats or kittens in need. Our partners at Oakland Animal Services offer training for those interested in fostering and becoming a foster for Cat Town helps our Oakland shelter support more cats and kittens.
5. Adopt a cat
Open your home to new cat or adopt a playmate for your existing pets. Check out The Shelter Pet Project to find available cats in your area. And Bay area residents can speak with one of our adoption counselors to talk about finding your match right here at Cat Town. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supporting local shelter efforts is something anyone can do, and getting involved means a positive impact for the animals and the community!