Kitten season: High Desert Humane Society preparing for influx as kitten season draws near

When you hear the phrase “kitten season” your mind may say “What the heck is kitten season?” or you may visualize images of sweet, fluffy, innocent-eyed kittens happily romping around. And of course, kittens are so cute.

The real situation isn’t sweet at all. For humane society workers, kitten season can be the worst time of the year. It’s when births peak. It happens twice each year, once in the spring and once in the fall. But the spring season is usually more intense. Generally, it starts around March and lasts until about July but can vary around the country. The northeast, for example, may experience a shorter season compared to the southwest where cats can breed year-round due to the warm temperatures.

An enormous number of kittens will have nowhere to go, and the Humane Society is quickly overwhelmed. While it’s true that kittens may be easier to place in homes compared to older cats we do not have the resources for very young kittens, those that are two to three weeks old or younger. These kittens must be bottle-fed every few hours by trained personnel. Kittens older than three weeks still require extra care. Their immune systems are not yet fully developed so disease and illness are concerns.

Caring for kittens is no easy task. Our cat rescue fills up quickly. There is a shortage of volunteers and activities become extremely hectic when we receive an influx of kittens. At this time, we have a limited number of foster homes; especially those that can care for newborns.

You can help save kittens. If you find newborns, don’t scoop them up and take them to the Humane Society. That’s the biggest mistake people make. Leave them where they are and keep an eye on them. Chances are the mother is hunting nearby and will be returning soon.

If kittens are younger than four weeks, don’t consider taking them unless the mother cat hasn’t appeared for about six hours. If the kittens are older, say four to six weeks, then you should wait a day before gathering them up. Only take the kittens sooner if they are in imminent danger.

But please remember: our space is limited; our volunteers are limited, and our foster homes are limited. We do have organizations that partner with us and take our animals to the Valley where there is a faster chance of finding Forever Homes. But they too can only take a limited number of animals.

You can help us.

• First and foremost, spay and neuter your pets to prevent unwanted pregnancies and unwanted pets.

• Volunteer as a foster parent.

• Adopt a rescue pet. Not only do you save a life, you also open up a space for us to care for another animal.

• If your home is full, encourage your family and friends to adopt rather than buy a pet.

• You can also make a donation to help us continue to save lives.

Donations are tax-deductible under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code.

We value your past support and look forward to your continued support.

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