Kitten Season: it happens every summer! Whether pet cats or feral cats, if they are not spayed or neutered and have outdoor access, the result is kittens. The only problem with kittens is when there are too many to find homes for, or in the case of feral kittens, they remain untamed and contribute to community cat overpopulation.
At FCCO clinics we are now seeing kittens from the spring mating cycle, and I know that will continue into autumn. At the veterinary clinic I work at I have also already seen the tragic result of kitten life on the street – a good samaritan brought in the body of a young kitten found on the side of the road.
Shelters in the Portland metro area have learned to prepare for Kitten Season. There is scarce space in the shelters for all of them, and it is well known that shelters are not the best places for these very young kittens. Because their immune systems are not well developed, they are more likely to contract illnesses. If kittens can stay in foster homes until they are at least two pounds and ready to be spayed/neutered, they will have the best chance of remaining healthy enough to be adopted.
When it comes to kittens born to feral cats, unless they are trapped and socialized they will be feral themselves. Feral kittens should be taken from the mother at four to six weeks of age. Older kittens can also be captured and tamed, but the process gets slower and less successful the longer the kittens stay in the wild. Most importantly, spay/neuter the kittens and mother. A cat can get pregnant while nursing her kittens, but also can be spayed safely while still nursing.
If you find young kittens, want to know what to do with older kittens, need information about lactating cats, or want to know more about feral kittens, including an age timeline, check out the kitten information on our website at feralcats.com/kitteninfo.pdf.
The kitten socialization process can be accomplished with patience and dedication and the reward is certainly worthwhile, saving them from a life on the street as well as producing affectionate, loving companions. We hope for a time when there will be no more kittens born homeless on our streets or growing old in shelters when there aren’t enough homes to adopt them. Thank you for all you do to help!
Our landmark 60,000th cat, “Rosie,” was spayed March 21, 2013, at our spay/neuter clinic in Portland. She is one of a colony of four in La Center, WA, and the offspring of a passing female who gave birth in the caregiver’s barn last year.
Rosie and her three siblings are now spayed/neutered and vaccinated. They will continue to live as barn cats, watched over by their kind caregiver.
Reaching 60,000 cats is an incredible milestone made possible by wonderful donors and volunteers like you. To reach the next 60,000 cats, we need your continued support along with growing the number of people who know and care about feral cats.
Barney lives on the water's edge of Sauvie Island near Portland. Her caregiver, Julie, thought he was a male cat until she found four kittens. Julie put out more bowls of food, but wondered how many more kittens would be born in the future.
Thankfully Julie found FCCO, and now Barney and her kittens are all spayed/neutered. The breeding cycle is broken and there won't be any more kittens. Barney is lucky. She doesn't need to worry about where her next meal will come from and she won't endure future pregnancies.
Last year, the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO) spayed/neutered more than 6,600 cats. If each cat had a litter of four like Barney, we prevented 26,400 kitten births last year alone. Over the past four years, we increased the number of surgeries performed by 63%. The need for our services remains strong and we want to continue to help as many cats as possible.
Watch Barney's story here http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=je4KCAXyU78