Kitten season sounds cute, but it’s actually a difficult and stressful time for folks who work in animal welfare, according to the Humane Society of Indianapolis.
What is it?
Kitten season sounds cute, but it’s actually a difficult and stressful time for folks who work in animal welfare, according to the Humane Society of Indianapolis. “Kitten season” refers to the time of year when shelters are flooded with homeless kittens. Cats go into heat when it’s warm, so spring and summer are prime times for kittens. With so many intact cats in the community, litters of kittens are inevitable. Combine that with mild Indiana winters, and shelters are bombarded with kittens nearly year-round.
Misconceptions with Kitten Season
Most people’s first reaction when they see kittens outside is to take them to the shelter. However, often the mama cat is not far from her kittens, she may be finding food or looking for a new safe place to move her family to. Kittens are very fragile; when separated from their mom, their chances of survival plummet dramatically. If you see kittens outside, it’s best to wait for mom. There’s a handy chart and lots of great information about this on www.indyhumane.org/kittens.
How does this impact shelters?
The large number of tiny, fragile kittens is a huge burden to a shelter during this time of year. Orphan kittens make up the largest percentage of animals euthanized in many shelters around the world. Orphan kittens require around-the-clock care and a high volume of expensive resources like formula, kitten food, heating pads, and incubators.
How does IndyHumane handle Kitten Season?
IndyHumane is one of the leaders in providing care for kittens of all ages. Our Foster Care Program is fortunate to have a strong network of almost 500 families who are trained to take on these babies when they need help. We provide our foster parents with support and supplies needed to excel in caring for their foster kittens. Our shelter staff is also trained on neonatal protocols to ensure the best care is provided both in the shelter and in foster homes.
In 2019 IndyHumane took in more than 1,500 kittens. Many of these kittens were found outside by concerned citizens, and many were transferred from other shelters that needed help due to the overwhelming numbers being brought in.
How can you help?
- Educate & Advocate: As a member of the community, education is always important. If you or someone you know finds kittens this season, be sure to refer to our chart and recommendations to keep the kittens safe.
- Spay and Neuter: It’s also important to prevent this issue by spaying and neutering all cats in the community. If you are feeding a feral cat be sure it is fixed (check for an ear tip). If not, the IndyHumane Downtown Clinic provides special packages for getting community cats fixed. This is the most important step as it will prevent unwanted litters in the future.
- Donate: The IndyHumane Foster Care Program relies completely on donations to fund the lifesaving work we do. Donations allow us to take in more kittens, provide supplies to foster parents and provide the kittens with necessary medical care.
- Foster: We are always looking for more foster parents. You can sign up to foster with IndyHumane at indyhumane.org/foster.
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