Are you a cat person? If yes, then the idea of a “kitten season” probably sounds like a dream come true. Kitten season is a real thing and – sadly – it is not a good thing for cats or the people who love them.
Kitten season basically refers to the time of the year when conditions are best for cats to reproduce. In our area, it usually starts between March and June, when the weather starts to warm. In more tropical areas, like Hawaii, kitten season can be year round.
Cats are hard-wired to reproduce when their babies have the best chance of survival. Female cats can start having kittens when they are around 6 months of age, and they continue to reproduce up to three times a year, every year, for most of their lives. Though there is some disagreement on the specific numbers, it is believed that one unspayed cat can produce thousands of cats, through her offspring, and her offspring’s offspring.
And if you aren’t a fan of statistics, all it takes is a search of our local shelters to see that kitten season is in full swing. A recent search of Petfinder.com led to over a result of over 31,300 adoptable kittens in the Vancouver area. The Portland metro area had about the same.
So what is the moral of this story? First of all, it is important to spay or neuter your cats. In rare situations, it may not be the right thing for your cat – a trusted veterinarian can help you decide how to best make this decision for your cat. Additionally, if you know of an unfixed cat in the neighborhood, it is important to get them fixed BEFORE kitten season arrives. And finally, if you can, reach out to your local shelter during this time to help in whatever way works for you. Adopting and fostering both make space in the shelter, along with providing a safer, happier place for a kitten to grow up. Donating expands available resources. Spreading the word helps others understand the plight of kitten season.