April 29, 2013. The “Kitten Season” has begun, according to staff at Avery County Humane Society. “Recently, we have had dozens of calls from people wanting to drop off unwanted kittens,” said Charlene Calhoun, shelter manager. “Yes, the kittens are cute, but having so many of them means that people often overlook the older cats,” Calhoun added. Often, an older and calmer cat is a better fit than a rambunctious kitten, according to Calhoun.
“The fifth season for animal rescues is the Kitten Season—from early spring until late summer,” according to Bruce Malfatone, executive director. He pointed out that a cat as young as 5 months can get pregnant, give birth multiple times, and have as many as 18 kittens a year. Even the best-behaved housecat may sneak outside when mating season begins and the cat has not been fixed. This is the time when so many cats are lost or hurt.
“The Kitten Season means unnecessary heartbreak,” explained Malfatone. Sometimes the very young mothers do not survive, nor do all the kittens. “Right now we have several volunteers fostering the nursing mothers and kittens, and a few cats have had to ‘adopt’ other kittens because their mothers died.” Malfatone also added that the overpopulation increases the risk of illness. Unfixed cats often lack the basic vaccinations and necessary health care. This means the added risk of unhealthy animals coming into the humane society. Even more heartbreaking is the multitude of cats and kittens dumped to fend for themselves, explained Malfatone.
The simple, easy solution to unwanted kittens and cats is spaying or neutering. The humane society offers low-cost spaying and neutering: $35 for a male cat or $50 for a female. A special fund for low-income pet owners who qualify means only $10 per cat.
You can help prevent the overpopulation of unwanted cats by having your cat fixed, by adopting a cat or kitten, by donating supplies or money or by volunteering at the humane society. For more information, come by the humane society, check www.averyhumane.org or call 828-733-2333.