Love cats? Consider adopting one this June during National Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month.
Along with warm weather, spring brings with it “kitten season,” a time of year that runs through autumn and causes shelters to fill to the brim with newborn kittens.
Cats can become pregnant as early as five months of age, according to the Humane Society of the United States, and can breed up to four times a year, with the average litter consisting of four to six kittens. This means a pair of breeding cats can produce up to 420,000 kittens in a seven year period.
If you are ready to adopt a cat or know someone who is, consider adopting two, and check out these tips, compiled by the American Humane Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, CATalyst Council and Petfinder, to set you, and your new friends, up for success before you do.
Though it is kitten season, adult cats need your love too and have just as much to give, but are often overlooked.
Some shelters offer reduced adoptions rates during this time to encourage more pet adoptions. To find a shelter near you, check out these resources by Petfinder and the ASCPA.
Adopting a cat (or two) isn’t the only way you can celebrate this June. There are more ways to make a difference:
- Spay/neuter your own pet. Though 88 percent of pet cats are spayed or neutered, it is estimated that only 10 percent of the cats received in shelters are, according to the American Pet Products Association. Most areas have clinics that offer low-cost services.
- Volunteer at your local shelter. There’s more to volunteering than scooping litter and cleaning cages – here are 10 ways you can help.
- Foster a cat. Don’t think you can do it? Here are eight reasons you can.
- Donate to your local shelter, rescue group or to any national animal welfare organization. Both money and other items are always needed, and can alleviate the stress of caring for so many homeless cats this season and help find homes for them.
- Reduce the number of stray and feral cats in your area by working with a Trap-Neuter-Release organization or starting your own. Though an exact count can’t be determined, it is estimated that up to 70 million stray or feral cats may live in the United States alone, according to the ASPCA, a result of the uncontrolled reproduction of both owned and feral cats that haven’t been neutered or spayed. Learn more here.
- Educate! Tell others to visit their local shelter and bring home a cat; if they already have one, encourage them to spay or neuter it.
Photo credit:cc:Wikimedia Commons Karel Jakubec