It’s the return of kitten season. Each year, the start of spring brings the onslaught of kittens to area shelters and rescues. As the weather gets warmer, feral and unaltered stray cats reproduce in large numbers. As a result, during the height of kitten season, it’s common for as many as 50 cats to be turned in to a municipal shelter in a single day.
A cat can become pregnant as early as 5 months of age, and a mother cat can become pregnant again while she is still nursing. Spaying and neutering are crucial to combating the cat overpopulation problem.
The heat cycles in cats are regulated by the weather, which is why there is a surge of pregnant cats all at once. Most cats go into heat three times a year, beginning in March-April. A female cat will keep repeating a heat cycle until she gets pregnant. Once a cat conceives, it is about two months until the kittens are born.
This is an ongoing problem in our area, as there are never enough homes, fosters or shelter space for all these newborns. There are ways the public can help as we embark on another kitten season:
SPAY OR NEUTER CATS: Kittens as young as 2 months can be safely altered if they meet the weight requirements for anesthesia. This prevents unwanted litters.
HELP SHELTERS AND RESCUES: Contact a local shelter or rescue to find out what is needed most. Volunteers often are needed to help network from home, assist with adoption events and help by fostering in the home until the kittens are ready for adoption.
BECOME A BOTTLE FEEDER: Kittens under the age of 4 weeks need around-the-clock care. Shelters and rescue groups depend on bottle parents to help keep these tiny kittens alive. Kittens do not do well in a shelter environment, as they are more prone to illness until all vaccinations are administered and therefore benefit from spending their early weeks in a foster home.
CARE FOR COMMUNITY CATS: Work with local rescues and shelters to help manage neighborhood stray cat populations through trap-neuter-return and feeding stations.
ADOPT A CAT OR KITTEN: If you are thinking about adding a new furry friend to the family, now is the time.
FRIDAY: Animal Rescue New Orleans Adoption Event at Xplore Credit Union, 1201 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Meet adoptable dogs and learn about volunteering and fostering. More info: firstname.lastname@example.org
FRIDAY: Offsite Pet Adoption, sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA, at the Fresh Food Festival, located at Holy Cross College, 4123 Woodland Drive in Algiers, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Louisiana SPCA adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help you select the right pet. Call (504) 368-5191 or visit la-spca.org.
SATURDAY: Animal Rescue New Orleans will be at the Magnolia Community Services Fest, 100 Central Ave. at River Road, Jefferson, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with adoptable dogs and info on volunteering and fostering. For more info, email email@example.com
SATURDAY: Third annual Best Doggone Softball Tournament fundraiser hosted by Southern Sports Leagues, benefiting the Jefferson SPCA, Lasalle Park, 6600 Airline Drive, Metairie, starting at 9 a.m. Lots of adoptable dogs onsite. For more info or to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit sslsports.com.
SATURDAY: Jefferson SPCA will be at the Elmwood Self Storage and Wine Cellar Giant Indoor Garage Sale, 1004 S. Clearview Parkway, Elmwood, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sellers sell their own goods and keep all the money. Units start at $25. Proceeds from the selling units are donated to Bridge House/Grace House. The Jefferson SPCA will be onsite with adoptable dogs. For more info, call (504) 737-7676.
SATURDAY: Kids & Dogs Workshop at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., at 9:30 a.m. Help make life with dogs and toddlers more successful. We will share information for parents who have babies soon to be crawling or walking, advice about common trouble spots between toddlers and dogs in a home, activities to include your dog in daily routines, as well as management techniques for less-stress dog and baby parenting. This is a humans-only workshop, and the cost to attend the one-hour class is $10 per person. Registration is required. Visit la-spca.org/trainingworkshops for more info and to register.
SATURDAY: Off-site Pet Adoption, sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA, will be held at Crescent Park Bazaar, 2300 N. Peters St. at the Mandeville Wharf of Crescent Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call (504) 368-5191 or visit la-spca.org.
Lost or found pets
In Orleans Parish, send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact info to email@example.com. In Jefferson Parish, send to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, and in St. Bernard Parish, send to firstname.lastname@example.org.