By Jamey Walker
That’s right it’s almost kitten season and before you can say “I want one!” they’ll be practically raining down on you. Yes, kittens have a season. Like baseball and spring break, these little scrappers usually make their debut in San Francisco starting in April or May. I use the word “usually” because the emergence of these little guys is actually dependant on the weather.
Here’s how it works: The weather turns nice and mild, which is great for the baby kittens survival outside. This cozy environment then stimulates a female cats’ heat cycle. The big un-neutered tom cats then come calling on them for a hot date. About nine weeks later a litter is born, usually four to six of them at a pop. If that same female cat is not spayed, she can go into heat again and have more babies! Whoa, has anyone thought about their college fund?
As you can see these cute, cuddly puff balls can add up quickly. And while I have to admit being in a room full of twenty kittens all climbing up my pant legs is irresistible, the hard truth is that it becomes a real challenge for communities to care for all these little guys.
The SF SPCA takes on a large number of these kitties every year. Some of them are social and healthy when they arrive, others may be sick, injured or fearful of us humans. The latter bunch can be the trickier ones to care for but each year we do our very best to help them get nurturing homes too.
So what can you do to help your kitten Karma?
Like Bob Barker says “have your pets spayed and neutered!” We have a low and no-cost spay and neuter program for qualifying individuals, check it out: (415) 554-3030 or http://www.sfspca.org/veterinary-hospital/spay-neuter.html
Help get the feral cats “fixed” in your community. We have a wonderful Feral Fix program: Feralcats@sfspca.org
Foster an underage kitten. We have a foster program that is always looking for people who have time and a caring heart to give those little guys during kitten season:
Volunteer! This is one of the very best ways to make a difference, with so many opportunities, even ones that don’t require direct animal contact in case you’re a bit allergic: Volunteers@sfspca.org
One last word
Kittens are great, we all know this. There are calendars and stuffed animals and fuzzy kitten slippers to remind us. However when you go to your shelter looking for a kitten this summer try to keep in mind all the adult cats that need homes too. They are just as sweet and loveable and are often over looked when the little ones are around. When you adopt and adult cat, a kitten can then take it’s place, so don’t worry you’re still making a dent in the big picture.
And for some adult cat inspiration, check out this YouTube video of cats on a treadmill!