Spring and kittens are blooming
12:26 PM, Tuesday, May 24
Kitten season is here, and it may bring an adorable addition to your home—what’s cuter, after all, than a baby cat? However, the season also brings its downside—the annual additions to the unwanted-kitten population. And unwanted kittens soon become stray cats, of which there are as many as 40 million in the United States.

How can you help?

1. Visit your local shelter and adopt a cat or kitten. Adoption frees food, funds and space for the many kittens that shelters get this time of year. Adoption of adult cats results in the same benefits. “Typically, adult cats are often overlooked by potential adopters when cute kittens are in abundance,” remarked the Humane Society of the United States.

2. Spay or neuter your kitten to prevent overpopulation. “Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays,” according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Kittens can conceive at as early as five months—spaying or neutering before then also most effectively prevents heat cycles, urine infections, breast cancer in females and testicular cancer in males. Neutering may keep males from acting out in general.

3. Take in a motherless stray. If you’re certain a stray kitten’s mom is gone and not merely hiding or searching for food, then feel free to care for the kitten. Otherwise, contact your local feral cat rescue group for details on trapping a feral cat family. “If the mother does come back, keep in mind that her care is best for the kittens [and that] they should remain with her until they’re weaned,” according to Alley Cat Allies, the stray and feral cat advocate organization. Upon taking in the kitten, contact a local veterinarian for details on feeding, cleaning, warming, litterbox training, vaccinating and comforting him or her.

Meanwhile, visit the National Cat Protection Society (NATCAT) office at 9031 Birch St. in Spring Valley. Open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 4:30, this resource provides low-cost spay and neuter referrals and can help with questions regarding cat overpopulation and adoption.

NATCAT will hold an open house and fundraiser on Sunday, June 5, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. featuring facility tours, a silent auction, raffle prizes and food. Admission is free, and proceeds will go toward the animals’ care. For more information, e-mail springvalley@natcat.org or call 619-469-8771.

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