To fully understand how the kitten season works and what you can do to help, here are some of the most frequent questions about the feline litter answered and explained.
What exactly is the kitten season?From the early spring until fall, cats are in heat. Being “in heat” means that they are ready to mate and can get pregnant. This natural process usually lasts from March until October, but it can differ depending on the seasonal changes and weather in various countries. Simply put, as the days get warmer and longer until the beginning of winter is when the weather is suitable for mating and conceiving. A cat is generally in heat for about 7 days, then once impregnated, it will carry the youngs for about 2 months ( 64-67 days).
What is a feline litter? How many kittens can a cat have?Interestingly, the word “litter” has found its place twice in the cat world. As with breeding, a litter of kittens represents a number of feline babies born during one pregnancy. A cat can bring 4-8 kittens to the world in one litter, but it can get pregnant several times during the kitten season. Not to mention that during those 4-7 days of being in heat, a cat can have multiple encounters with different male cats, thus getting impregnated by different tomcats. This is why sometimes there are completely different kittens in the same litter.
If a cat gives birth to 8 kittens at least two times a year, imagine how many unwanted furbabies are there left abandoned.
Are neutering and spaying the solution to the problem of overcrowding?
Millions of stray cats are reproducing as we speak. Since they are natural wanderers and hiders, even domestic cats mate with their fellow outdoor cats and enlarge the problem of uncontrolled feline breeding.
Solely in the US, it’s estimated that around 70 million stray and feral cats are out there, only 2% of them neutered or spayed. Neutering or spaying before the age of 6 months is essential to dealing with this growing problem as it is the most efficient way of putting things in control. Ask around about the best low-cost neutering and spaying clinics, or check with your vet about the options and costs available. This quick procedure can completely alter the way cats live on the streets and can save their lives.
What can I do to help shelters in need?Although financial support is crucial, there are other useful ways to help a shelter in need:
Donate supplies and foodIf you are a cat owner yourself, reuse your pet’s old beds, carriers, toys, bowls, and donate to a local rescue in need. Since they are vulnerable and naturally dependent on their mother, young kittens are unable to regulate their body temperature, so keeping them warm and cozy during the first months of age is essential. Heated beds or cave caves like the ones at Feltcave are specifically designed to help regulate kitten’s temperature and keep them warm, so they’re extremely beneficial for abandoned kittens without a mother by their side.
Pet food is always scarce, so even a little bit of your spare dry cat food would mean the world to cats in need. Contact the shelter if you would like to donate to ask how you can be helpful to the vulnerable kittens.
Adopt or fosterFostering and adopting is the number 1 option at rescue shelters as it is not only the noblest but also an efficient way of helping kittens thrive and grow healthy. If you’re not able to commit to adopting, you can always foster a cat for some time and help ease the financial and time pressure on the local shelters, as well as free up space for other cats in need.
Volunteer or be at their serviceEvery year, thousands of cats are euthanized since shelters and rescues are not able to take in so many animals in the already overpopulated spaces. Therefore, any invested time is welcome, especially when it comes to baby kittens.
If you come across an unsheltered litter of kittens in the street, don’t comply with the urge to take it somewhere as it can be detrimental separating the babies from their mother at a really early age. Instead, contact a rescue shelter that will know how to adequately protect the kittens and their mother before they are capable of being on their own.
Animal welfare organizations strive to help cats as much as possible; however, kittens as young as a few months old need 24-7 attention and care. As non-profit rescues and shelters rely on donations, it’s up to us to step up and get involved as much as possible. There’s always a way to make a change. If you’d like to donate to our rescue centre, give us a call on (239) 332 0364, or click here to make a donation.
Thank you for your continued support!