|Kitten season comes with pitter patter of little paws
We got in our first mom-cat with a week old kitten, so it’s official. Kitten season has begun. Pretty soon the shelter will resonate with the pitter-patter of tiny paws and the mewling cry of hungry babies.
We know (but find it hard to believe) that some cats have slipped through our offer of free spays and neuters and are still out there procreating. Here’s the important point you need to hear – the younger the kittens are when they are caught and brought in, the better their chances of being socialized and adopted.
So, if you’ve been feeding a stray, and she was looking pudgy and well fed but now appears to be slimmer when she shows up at the food bowl, chances are she has kittens somewhere. And unless you are committed to feeding the whole litter for their lifetime (about 8-10 years for a feral cats if they are lucky), you have to do something now. Remember each of those kittens grows up and has more kittens, too. You could have dozens in no time at all.
At about 4 weeks old, the kittens are beginning to be mobile and will start to be seen. Catching them (and mom, so she can be spayed – no need to go through this cycle yet again) between 4-6 weeks is ideal, up to 8 weeks is OK, but much beyond that and they will be too wild to tame down. Traps are available for rent at 49er Pet Store and Hertz Rental.
You can stop by the shelter for some instructions on how to humanely use the traps if the store doesn’t provide that. Also, have an appointment for mom or a reservation at the shelter for the kittens before you start trapping so you aren’t standing there with an animal in a trap and no where to take them.
Interested in helping us with raising all the kittens that come through our door? Fostering is the politically correct way to have cute, playful kittens in your home. And you get all the fun without having to make a lifetime commitment or costing you a lot of money. We provide all the litter, food and medical care for the babies. You just have to feed, socialize and love them up.
The fun lasts 2-8 weeks, depending on the age of the kittens you take on. They usually return to the shelter for adoption at about 8-9 weeks old. It’s a great project for a family to take on together. Want to learn more? We will be having a one-hour new foster parent orientation on Monday, April 28, at 6:30 p.m. in the shelter lobby.
Hope to see you at our fix-it clinics with all those errant mom-cats and/or at our foster parent orientation. Become part of the solution and help solve the kitten overpopulation problem.
• Fix-it clinics: Free cat spays/neuters and low-cost dog surgeries for low-income residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati. Call 588-3531 for more information or an appointment.
• “No More Lost Pets” campaign: Every lost pet should have a way to get back home. Free pet ID tag and a back-up microchip are available to all residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati. No appointment necessary, just come by the shelter during our regular open hours: Wednesday 1-6:30 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 1-5:30 p.m.; and Sunday 1-4:30 p.m.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at email@example.com.