Mythbuster: Kitten Season Edition
Guest Post from Robin Mudge of Playful Kitty
Kitten season has arrived in the northern hemisphere! Cute little purring bundles of joy are showing up everywhere. There are a lot of myths out there about what this really means for cats. Let’s take a look at the truth about kitten season.
What is kitten season?
A female cat’s heat cycles are influenced by the lengthening of the days that occurs as spring draws near. Therefore, a cat will typically have all 3 of her yearly heat cycles sometime in the spring, summer, or fall. When all of the kittens begin to arrive in the spring time, it is officially kitten season. Kitten season will continue into the fall months and die out as the days get shorter. Typically, animal shelters and rescues become overrun by kittens during kitten season.
3 Common Myths About Kitten Season
Myth #1: It’s easy to find homes for kittens.
The truth is that it is easier to find homes for cute little kittens than it is to find homes for adult cats. However, it is still not easy to find kittens homes. Around half of all cats (kitten or otherwise) that enter an animal shelter will be euthanized because there are not enough homes for them. The Humane Society of Madison County, Kentucky admits “Every year, between six to eight million dogs and cats enter U.S. animal shelters; devastating estimates of between four to five million of these animals are euthanized because there are simply not enough homes. The animals killed in our shelters each day include kittens and puppies that never had a chance, adults, seniors, purebreds, owner drop-offs and strays alike.” Other shelters echo this sentiment. Los Angeles Animal Services was shown to have euthanized 7,254 kittens during 2010.
Myth #2 : Having a litter of kittens has health benefits for a female cat.
There is actually no evidence that a cat that has had kittens is any healthier than a cat that hasn’t. Actually, early spaying has been found to significantly reduce the likelihood of a cat developing mammary cancer. Also, the actual spay surgery is likely to be easier on a younger cat because of the size difference and the amount of fat their body is carrying.
Myth #3: A male house cat does not need to be neutered because he can not get pregnant.
It’s true, male cats can not give birth to kittens. However, they are a part of the overpopulation problem and they do contribute to kitten season. One male cat can impregnate several females within the same time period. That adds a lot to the overpopulation! Even if your cat is an indoor cat, it is best to have him neutered. This will eliminate the possibility of him impregnating any female cats if he escapes outdoors and it will reduce spraying and other territorial behaviors.
Just a quick note – male cats do not become less masculine when they are neutered. They don’t have the same sorts of ideas about what is “masculine” or “feminine” like humans do.
What You Can Do To Help
- Have your cats spayed or neutered.
- Adopt a cat.
- Become a foster.
One of the biggest needs that animal rescues and shelters have during kitten season is more fosters! Living in a home with someone can help the new kittens to become socialized and learn how to live with humans. Fostering kittens helps make them easier to adopt out.
- Volunteer with your local animal rescue or shelter. There is always a ton of work to be done at an animal rescue or shelter. Not all of it has to do with cleaning cages either! Sometimes all they need is someone to socialize those adorable kittens. Tell them what you can do and they can find a place for you.
- Donate to animal rescue efforts. Kitten season is a very overwhelming time for animal rescues and shelters. They need to pay vet bills, buy food, litter, and more for all of the kittens coming in. A few dollars or even some pet food or supply coupons can go a long way to help. Check with your local rescue for their latest wishlist.
Is your cat adopted from a rescue or shelter?
Guest Post from Robin Mudge | Playful Kitty | Robin is the Detroit based blogger behind Playful Kitty. Besides spending time with her 2 cats, she also enjoys working as an actress, singing, dancing and other creative pursuits. She is passionate about animals, art, and education.