By VICKI BROWN
Spring and early summer has us in the height of “kitten season,” a time of year when thousands of homeless kittens flood animal shelters across the country.
Kittens can be born year-round; however, the vast majority are born during “kitten season,” which is from March through October. “We have 62 adults and 86 kittens (6 months and younger) in our care. And just for the sake of perspective, since May 1st, we have received 71 adults and 99 kittens. We only have 74 cat enclosures on site,” said Laura Clark, Colleton County Animal Services director.
According to the ASPCA, all of these at-risk kittens make up a large part of the roughly 3.2 million cats entering shelters each year, of whom approximately 860,000 are euthanized.
To address this critical situation, Colleton’s local animal shelter recruits people to become foster caregivers and provide necessary care, support and socialization to kittens for as little as two weeks until they are old enough to be adopted.
The Colleton Animal Shelter desperately needs foster parents who can provide temporary care for these little kittens until they are old enough to be adopted, and to adult cats waiting for a forever home.
Here are some facts:
• Female cats can become pregnant at five months old.
• An average cat has 1-8 kittens per litter and 2-3 litters per year.
• During her reproductive life, a female cat can have more than 100 kittens.
• One female cat and her offspring can produce between 100 and 400 cats in 7 years.
What can you do to help?
1. Spay/neuter your pets. There is help available if you are unable to afford the procedure. Contact Animal Services for more information.
2. Donate. If you don’t have money to donate, then donate your time. All rescue organizations rely on volunteers and can’t take care of the animals without them.
3. Support Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) in your neighborhood/community. TNR has been proven to work controlling community/feral cats. Call Animal Services and ask what you can do to help them accomplish their goals.
4. Be safe when touching kittens. If you find a litter of kittens, please make sure the mother is truly gone and not coming back before you intervene. If you find a lone kitten, it is possible that the mother is in the process of moving the litter, keep watch from a safe distance to make sure the mother is not returning before you intervene.
5. Be a foster mom. The more foster homes available, the more kittens can be saved.
6. Adoption. Consider adopting a cat and ridding your property of dangerous snakes as well as taking pressure off the overcrowded shelter.