Sound dramatic? Well, catastrophic is defined as extremely harmful or unfortunate; involving or causing great damage or suffering. I could make a case that MOST Kitten Seasons are catastrophic. Those of us in rescue work have been worrying about the effect our mild Winter would have on Kitten Season this year. Every Kitten Season results in huge numbers of unwanted kittens. There are so many stray/feral cats in America already. Estimates run from 35 million to 75 million (it’s a hard number to pin down). I know you’ve all seen the statistic of how many cats are produced by one unspayed female and her offspring in a seven-year period. Those statistics vary wildly, but the bottom line is that there are TOO many unwanted cats and kittens in this country. Period. Now I realize that it is extremely difficult to get a handle on the problem in the stray and feral populations. But what angers me to the boiling point is how many people STILL don’t spay and neuter their OUTDOOR pet cats!!! Are you kidding me?!
Let me calm myself and get on to my post for the day. My daughters are already getting phone calls about kittens. LOTS of kittens. So far none have been dumped overnight. But that will eventually happen. The part that is so disheartening about the calls they’ve been getting is that it’s usually someone who has a female cat, never spayed, who now has a litter of kittens in their closet or their backyard. These are not cats and kittens in jeopardy. It’s that the people who call don’t want to have to try to find homes for the kittens so they call the shelter. Unfortunately, that is a typical scenario. However, there have been three situations already this Season that aren’t typical.
A man showed up at the shelter with a large plastic crate. He’d cut a hole in it for air. He discovered that the neighborhood stray had given birth under his house. Knowing the kittens would now grow up to be neighborhood strays as well, he scooped them all up and brought them to the shelter.
This was the first group to show up this season. There was room for this mom and her kittens. But that wouldn’t be the case for long. Older and I were driving back from a meeting one evening just over a week ago, and she was talking about how much she dreaded the calls about cats and kittens out there without a viable way to survive. She said just that day she’d taken a call from a woman who said a neighborhood cat had walked into their house a few days before. The cat had a litter of kittens in the woman’s closet. As Older had talked with the woman, she described the mom cat as having an injury on her face. Older had asked her to send a picture, but she never heard back from the woman. Then, just as Older and I made our way back to the shelter for her to pick up some things she needed, she received two pictures on her phone.
She showed the pictures to me and we talked about the conditions the mom and kittens were living in and the fact that the facial wound looked ugly. The woman texted that the wound had been there for a week and seemed infected. She also said one of the kittens died. Older texted for her to bring the group to the shelter. But the woman didn’t have a car. So Older and I grabbed a shelter carrier and piled back into my vehicle to head across town. Older had the woman fill out the form and load the mom and kittens into the carrier. We got the little family back to the shelter and Older did her thing.
Then on Monday afternoon I received a text from Older. A woman just brought in four kittens who are still nursing age. No mom. I divided them up and put them with our two moms. All four are nursing and I’m really relieved about that but I’m beginning to feel overwhelmed.
Yes. Overwhelmed. Kitten Season starts in the Spring, goes through the Summer, and doesn’t end until Fall is over. Those of us in rescue will do what we can. But I sure wish the people of this world would turn a corner, and we could slowly change this repeating catastrophe.
See you next week.