Written by Gabi G.
“Kitten Season” is that time of year when the weather warms up and unaltered female cats go into heat, get pregnant, and give birth. Here in Southern California, with our mild climate and overabundant stray cat population, we have an extended season that traditionally picks up in March and continues all the way through October.
It was, therefore, no surprise to the Adopt & Shop Kitten Foster Project team when we received our first call of the season from a shelter partner at the beginning of February. They had just received a heavily pregnant female cat, and she was expected to give birth any day. Our team zipped down to the shelter to collect the mom-to-be as soon as her mandatory hold period expired. After less than 24 hours at our nursery, she gave birth to her litter. Our staff and volunteers were lucky enough to witness the magical event, but our excitement was tainted by one anxiety-inducing thought: Kitten Season had officially arrived.
At this point, you might be thinking, “Why exactly is Kitten Season such a bad thing?” Well, the vast majority of kittens turned into Los Angeles-area shelters are not as lucky as Skylar’s. These overwhelmed shelters do not have the kennel space, manpower, or financial capacity to provide the thousands of kittens they receive with the specialized care they require. If a kitten not old enough to be spayed/neutered and adopted enters a high-volume Los Angeles shelter, it will likely be euthanized immediately. In 2014, Los Angeles Animal Services was forced to euthanize 4,842 underage kittens.
Thankfully, the outlook for underage kittens is steadily improving thanks to foster and nursery programs like the Adopt & Shop Kitten Foster Project. In 2014, our first year of operation, we saved the lives of nearly 700 kittens and their moms by removing them from the shelter, placing them in foster care until they were old enough to be spayed/neutered, and adopting them out through our two Adopt & Shop locations. This year, we hope to save nearly twice as many, but we need your help to do it.
How You Can Help
- Foster a litter of orphaned kittens or a mom with her nursing litter by taking the Kitten Foster Parent Pledge. The more fosters we have, the more lives we can save.
- Adopt from Adopt & Shop or your local municipal shelter. The adoptable kittens featured at Adopt & Shop are graduates of our Kitten Foster Program. When you bring an Adopt & Shop kitten home, you play a vital role in in helping us save more lives. Since two cats are better than one, from June through September Adopt & Shop is waiving the second adoption fee when you adopt two cats or kittens!
- Donate an item from our Amazon Wishlist. If you can’t foster or adopt, donating an item for as little as $5.00 will help our kittens grow up happy, healthy and strong, and will offset our operational costs and enable us to save more lives.
Have you ever fostered a kitten? Did you enjoy the experience? Let us know in comments.