Spring is officially here…
because today when I visited the Little Rock Animal Village, I was greeted by five litters of kittens!
Kitten season, as it’s known in shelter circles, starts in Spring and extends through Fall. If you’re looking to adopt a kitten, Spring and Summer are the best times because there will be a wide variety to choose from and because shelters often discount adoption fees during this time in an effort to free up cages.
It’s also a fun time to be a shelter volunteer, because, let’s be honest, who can resist this face?
Maybe you’re not in the market for a kitten at all but a pregnant cat shows up in your yard, at your school, or where you work. Now you have a dilemma. What should you do in this situation?
I spoke with Tricia Power of the Bryant Animal Control and Adoption Center and she advises anyone who finds a pregnant cat to, first of all…
1. Notify local animal control with a description of the cat.
It could be someone’s missing pet.
If no owner comes forward, Tricia recommends…
2. Get the cat spayed ASAP.
This part may be a little upsetting to some folks because spaying the mother cat will mean that she loses the litter. However, it is a lot easier to find a home for one cat than five cats. Also consider that even though the kittens would surely be adorable, your local shelter may have fifty other adorable kittens who need homes as well.
If you need help affording the surgery, go to my Spay/Neuter Clinics page where you’ll find a directory of low-cost spay/neuter clinics all over Arkansas. Also check the Events calendar for scheduled clinics.
But what if the mama cat has already had her kittens?
In this case, you’ll want to…
Get the mama and her kittens to a confined space
This could be a garage or laundry room. The objective is to keep the cats safe from cars and predators. Keeping the mother cat safe is important because young kittens don’t stand much of a chance of survival without their mother . (Rescuing orphaned kittens is another topic completely and is addressed here at Alley Cat Allies.)
Kittens should remain with their mother until they are at least eight weeks old. During this time, the mama cat is teaching her kittens manners as well as predatory skills. Separating kittens from their mothers too early can result in behavior problems later on. (for a photo guide to kitten age, click here)
At eight weeks, you can bring the mama and litter to the local animal control and they will be placed for adoption. In Saline County, there are several towns that do not have access to animal control. In those cases, Saline County residents can contact Bryant Animal Control and Adoption Center and they will help find homes for the kittens and mother.
I want to thank Tricia Power for her help with this article. This is merely an overview , but if you want in-depth information on how to care for feral cats and kittens, as well as advice on trapping and socializing, visit the Alley Cat Allies website.