What Is Kitten Season and How You Can Help Save Kittens

From March to October the air is full of the sweet, sweet sounds of...cats yowling. If you haven’t heard the sound of cats in heat, boy are you in for it! This time of year, known as kitten season, puts a whole lot of pressure on animal shelters and leads to thousands of unwanted kittens.

What is kitten season? And what can we, as animal lovers and pet owners, do to ease the burden on shelters and rescues? Keep reading to learn more about kitten season and some of the programs that have been established to help ease the strain.


What Is Kitten Season?

Cats can go into heat at any time of year, but generally, the majority of female cats go into heat in the spring and summer months. Depending on an area’s climate, kitten season, the time when most female cats are in heat, can last well into early winter. As you can imagine, with tons of cats in heat, more and more kittens are introduced to the world. Enter: kitten season.

kittens kitten season feral cats TNR

Heat, or estrus, is the stage of a female cat’s reproductive cycle when they become fertile. The yowling we’re all familiar with is her attempt to attract a mate. It’s basically the feline version of Tinder, letting the male cats in the area know she’s looking for love.

Cats are able to have kittens as early as 4 months old. An unspayed cat can have multiple litters in a season. Unneutered males are capable of spreading their DNA far and wide and creating countless kittens.

This results in the yearly boom of kittens that causes so many unwanted cats in shelters. Ferals, strays, and unspayed house cats all contribute to the explosion of the kitten population on the streets and in shelters during kitten season.

This is the time of year that shelter workers dread. Unfortunately, not every kitten or cat that comes through the doors at this time of year will leave for a happy home. Some shelters see as many as 100 kittens or more being dropped off in a single day. These numbers are unsustainable and place a huge strain on a shelter’s resources. A shortage of fosters and a lack of room at no-kill shelters, unfortunately, lead to the worst possible outcome for many of the cats and kittens that are taken to a shelter at this time.


How You Can Help Save Kittens

It’s not all bad news. There are some ways that you can help the shelters, rescues, and of course, the cats and kittens involved. 

Spay and Neuter Your Cats

Of course, the biggest way you can help is to not become a part of the problem. Spay and neuter your cats. Even if your cat is an indoor only cat, they can sneak out and get up to shenanigans. Cats can be spayed or neutered when they reach 2 pounds, which can be as early as 8 weeks old.

Spaying or neutering your cat has benefits beyond decreasing the number of kittens in shelters. It reduces the risk of reproductive cancers like mammary, uterine, testicular, and prostate cancer. For female cats, spaying lowers the risk of pyometra, a potentially deadly infection that develops in the uterus.

And most importantly, spaying and neutering also increases their life span, so you can enjoy many more healthy years with them! 

Donate To Your Local Rescues and Shelters

Since so many rescues and shelters function on a volunteer and donation basis, the influx of kittens can rapidly deplete their resources. Shelters will gladly accept cat food, towels, and blankets. You can also donate as little as $10 which can help provide vaccines to adoptable cats and kittens.

Fostering is another way to make a huge impact. The fewer animals present in the shelter, the more lives can be saved. Offer to foster a litter of kittens if you have the time and resources. Or take in a single kitten or mama cat in need of a warm place to call their temporary home.

If you’re unable to foster or donate, you can absolutely still help! You can also share the shelter’s posts and requests for help. It only takes a few seconds to share a post on your social media news feed; this can help the shelter find volunteers that may not have known about the need otherwise, and many pets have found homes this way!

Don’t be afraid to reach out and find out other ways you can get involved. Shelters and rescues appreciate all of the help that they can get, and sometimes that means something unique or creative! 

Adopt A Shelter Cat Or Two

If you are on the lookout for a cat or kitten, a shelter or rescue is the place to go! There are countless amazing felines just waiting for their forever homes.

But don’t stop there; consider adopting two at a time. Despite their reputation for being solitary, cats thrive in environments with other cats. Consider taking two cats from the same litter or a bonded pair that is inseparable and has a lower chance of being adopted. 

Participate in Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)

Trap-Neuter-Return programs have had a major impact on the number of kittens that appear in shelters during kitten season. These programs involve humanely trapping ferals and strays, neutering or spaying, and releasing them back into ‘the wild’.

When people bring in litters of kittens they have found, some shelters have taken it a step beyond just accepting the kittens. They may also provide the rescuers with humane traps to catch the parents, so they can be spayed or neutered.

Groups like Best Friends work around the country helping to establish TNR programs. Your local TNR program could use your help! Find out about TNR programs near you so you can do your part to reduce the number of unaltered strays. 

Support Important Causes

Where you spend your money matters. When shopping for yourself or for a gift for someone you love, shop from businesses that support causes near and dear to your heart.

Here at Brindle Market, all shop items give back to a rescue or shelter in need. In fact, if you’re looking to support TNR efforts, you’ve got to check out this TNR Saves Lives Candle that provides 10% of net proceeds to the San Jose Animal Care Center to help with their TNR program.

Brindle Market TNR Saves Lives Candle

Or check out the Extra Love Kittens Candle or Kittens Blooming Candle that also give back to important kitten causes. Their beautiful artwork and sweet smells make for the perfect gift for the cat lover in your life!

Sure, kitten season isn’t as cute as it sounds, but you can certainly help make it less of a hardship on shelter workers. And you can save some lives in the process!


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