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Some call it late spring, we call it kitten season

Ah, kitten season. So many kittens, too many kittens, could there be such a thing? Unfortunately, for shelters across the country, the answer is yes. Colleton is no different. Kitten season is often their most overwhelming time of year. Cat mating season is approximately January through February and about two months later, kittens are born. Each mother cat typically bears three to five kittens starting in spring and peaking in late spring/early summer.

Shelters just like ours receive thousands of pregnant cats and kittens that max out their space, staff, and budgets. Each cat or kitten that gets taken in will cost the shelter money. They need to be fed, some even by bottle, every two hours. They need litter and to be given the proper vaccinations. Most importantly, they need to be fixed to prevent more unwanted litters. Imagine if they are sick. They will need medications to help them get better so they can go to their furever home, where ever that may be.

How can you help during kitten season? Here are some tips on how you can help your local shelter and Friends of the Colleton County Animal Shelter when they need it most.

1. Fulfill Wish Lists
Friends of the Colleton County Animal Shelter (FoCCAS) has created an Amazon Wish List to make it easy for individuals to contribute exactly what the shelter needs. On many of these lists are items such as cat food, bedding, litter, medicines, carriers, collars, toys, and treats. Kitten food, both wet and dry, is always needed as well as litter.
Wish lists save the shelter the work of ordering and make it easy for you to gift the shelter something useful; a true win-win. To locate the shelter wish list go to Amazon and search Friends of the Colleton County Animal Shelter under wish list. Items purchased will arrive at the shelter in just two days.

2. Foster
If you are knowledgeable about cats, consider fostering a pregnant mother cat or kittens. Contact Laura Clark at the shelter to see if they need help and tell them your level of experience. Fostering a mother cat relieves the shelter of a huge burden. Foster obligations can be a short as a few days to as long as six to eight weeks, depending on the shelters need. Kittens do not do well in the shelter and it saves them having health issues if they can be fostered off site until they are adopted or sent to a rescue.

3. Kitten Care
Many shelters do not have the resources to care for kittens who are only 2-3 weeks old. At this age, they must be bottle-fed every few hours and even kittens over 3 weeks old need to be placed in special areas while their immune systems get stronger. Moms and babies have to be properly quarantined until the kittens are old enough to be vaccinated.
If you are interested in caring for infant kittens, ask the shelter if they offer neonate care training. Unfortunately, if shelters can’t find foster placements or neonate care immediately, the kittens may not be able to survive.

4. Adopt
If you have the space, adopting a cat during kitten season helps the shelter create more space to care for another homeless kitten or cat. If your home is full, talk to you friends and family to see who might be able to adopt a new friend. Don’t forget, older cats need homes too! They can make great companions for those that do not have a lot of time for a kitten.

5. Donate
Shelters need all the help they can get during kitten season. If you have free time, donate several hours or one day per week. If you don’t have the time, donate money through FoCCAS to help the shelter care for animals in your community.

6. Prevent Pregnancy
Once a female cat reaches five months of age, she can become pregnant. Each litter can produce several kittens, which quickly adds up. A mother cat can even become pregnant while nursing. To prevent pregnancy, spay or neuter your pet. There are low cost options available to help those who think they cannot afford the surgery. Also, if you know of a community cat that does not have an owner you can check out a cat trap from the shelter and send them to be fixed.

7. Do What You Can
Kitten season is filled with fluff and love, but the shelter needs your help to handle it all. You may not be able to do everything listed above or even one of the items at this time, but now that you know there’s a need, do what you can when you can. Who knows, you may even find a new best friend along the way!

Christie Slocum (538 Posts)