Finding fostered kittens’ mother is key
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By Mickey Zeldes  August 30, 2013 12:00 am

Everyone who walks into my office and sees the little kittens I’m fostering asks the same question, “Where’s their momma?” It’s the same question the staff asks of anyone surrendering a litter of stray kittens – where’s their momma? 

Although it’s important we get in the kittens young enough to be able to properly socialize them so they become adoptable, we realize that if we only focus on the kittens we’re missing the real problem.

There is clearly a fertile female and, somewhere, a virile male cat still on the loose. That means that without intervention, in about 8-10 weeks these same people will be back with another litter of kittens to “donate” to the shelter. 

So, we have the difficult conversation with those bringing in kittens about the need to do more, and actively look for, and possibly trap, the momma cat. Although many people feel like they’ve done their part by rescuing the kittens, it’s really up to them to also take the next step. 

This is especially true if the cat had her kittens under their porch or somewhere on their property. Again, if the momma’s not caught, the cycle hasn’t really been broken. 

With her babies gone, she will just come back into heat and mate again with any intact male cat around and be back under the porch with another litter in about two months (gestation is about 63 days). And so it goes.

A great bumper sticker said it all – “if you feed a stray, then neuter and spay.” And it doesn’t have to cost you anything more than your time and effort to catch her. We feel so strongly about the need to fix all cats that we offer all residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati a program where cats can be altered for free. Certainly, cost should not be a barrier for having this important surgery done, especially when we are asking people to go out of their way and help trap animals that aren’t even theirs. We would like to see all dogs altered as well, but since they are not the huge overpopulation problem that cats are, we charge the low fee of $60 to fix them.

This is the time of year when cats are on round two (if not already working on number three) of pregnancies. There are those who can’t bring themselves to have a cat fixed if she is visibly pregnant (even though she can be spayed) so now is the time to catch her – while she is between litters. Don’t wait to see if she gets pregnant. In the animal world there are no ifs. Cats are considered “induced ovulators,” which means that every time they are sexually stimulated (intercourse occurs), an egg is released. This pretty much guarantees that a pregnancy will occur (it also explains why there can be so many different fathers within one litter).

Don’t procrastinate! 

If you have been seeing a stray hanging around or have been feeding one for a while, now would be the perfect time to take the next step and have them fixed. 

Call our appointment line at 588-3531. It won’t cost you a cent but will save you plenty.


Upcoming events

• August Adoption Special: This is the last weekend for our “Name Your Own Fee” adoption special. Come in and fall in love with one of our cuties and name your own adoption fee. All reasonable offers considered. Such a deal – don’t miss it!


• Mutt Strut: Grab your friends and family and form a “pack” to participate in our fundraising Dog Walk and Pet Fair on Sept. 28. Start getting pledges and raising money to support the shelter. Top fundraiser and pack wins great prizes. 

For forms and registration details go to:


Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at

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