Kitten Season is Among Us
Photo Credit: CanitBeSaturdayNow.com
As we enter into Spring, there's a plethora of blooms, fresh air and...KITTENS! That's right, cats are popping kittens out left and right. So what brings on kitten season this time of year? Well if we go back a few months, into December, as the daylight begins to increase at the Winter Solstice, intact females begin to go into heat by January 15th. Fast forward with a 60 day gestation period and boom, the first kittens are among us by March 15th. While this sounds wonderful as we picture our selves being buried in a pile of tiny toe beans, shelters become quickly overwhelmed causing resources to run tight and room to diminish. While rescues try to step in and pull as many as possible to help hand raise and bottle feed these newborn wonders, they rely heavily on volunteers during this time to foster. When it comes to fostering, there are numerous categories of kittens and cats that need a warm home:
The Newborn or Neonate Kitten: These orphan kittens can range in age from newborn to about four weeks old. The younger the kitten, the more frequent the feedings. In general, kittens require feedings every four to six hours around the clock until about three weeks of age. Three week old kittens can usually begin to go up to eight hours overnight without a feeding. These kittens are fostered by volunteers with prior kitten fostering experience.
The Transitional Kitten: These orphan kittens or kittens who need to be separated from the queen for some reason, range in age from just over four weeks to about six weeks. They are beginning to eat solid food but may still need to be supplemented with a bottle feeding a couple of times a day.
Weaned Kittens: These kittens range from five to over eight weeks old and are eating solid food. This age group brings the most entertainment to the foster families with their high energy level and kitten antics. Kittens remain in foster until they are ready for spay or neuter surgery at a minimum of 8 weeks and two pounds.
Kittens Needing Socialization: Some kittens will arrive at the shelter having had little contact with humans. With proper care and handling, kittens younger than about 4 months can be successfully socialized. Special training is offered to fosters interested in socializing these kittens.
Pregnant Queens or Queens with Litters: Sometimes a queen close to giving birth or a queen and her litter arrive at ASAP. If your household situation can accommodate an adult foster, this is the easiest foster assignment. The queen will take care of all of her kittens' needs until they are weaned; the foster just needs to take care of the queen.
Adult Cats: On occasion there is a need to place an adult cat into foster care. Often these cats have experienced a traumatic event, such as a broken pelvis or leg after being hit by a car. During the convalescence, these cats will experience less stress in a home environment than in the shelter environment, facilitating their recovery.
List courtesy of Animal Shelter Assistance Program So what brings on kitten season this time of year? Well if we go back a few months, into December, as the daylight begins to increase at the Winter Solstice, intact females begin to go into heat by January 15th. Fast forward with a 60 day gestation period and boom, the first kittens are among us by March 15th.
Photo Credit: Kitten Lady
If you feel as if you can open your heart and home to any of these kittens or cats, it's simple to get started. You can go through your local city shelter or a local rescue that has been pulling kittens and pregnant cats. If you're in Los Angeles, Found Animals Adopt and Shop has a wonderful kitten fostering program that trains you and assists you throughout the entire process. You don't even have to take any kittens home but can simply volunteer in their Kitten Nursery bottle feeding and caring for kittens under 8 weeks old before they're ready for adoption.