Denver-area animal shelters are already bracing for the annual population explosion known as “kitten season”.
Every spring and summer, when felines are out and more active, newborn cats flood communities and turn up in droves at shelters.
While a thick layer of snow still covers the ground, animal workers are aleady seeing pregnant cats, says Amy Angelilli, executive director of The Feline Fix, a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Denver.
At the Dumb Friends League, the area’s largest shelter, workers are still reeling from last summer’s onslaught and are making plans for this year.
“It’ll start before you know it,” said Judi Heady, associate director of operations at the Quebec Street shelter.
Last year the League got 3,700 kittens and 8,000 adult cats. Those figures reveal another aspect of the problem.
“Usually it’s not hard to get kittens adopted, but not adult cats. The adult cats get overlooked,” Heady said.
The problem, she said, is that people don’t have as high a regard for cats as they do dogs.
“They don’t spay or neuter their cats as much. They let them go outside more,” Heady explained.
Chris Gallegos, the League’s public relations manager, said the League plans to do all it can this year to elevate regard for cats, including stressing that cats can be clicker trained.
That will be part of a multi-pronged effort by the organization.
For all of February the League will waive adotion fees for adult cats, Heady said. That could continue beyond this month.
The organization will promote its fostering program, including the Home Buddies program in which adult cats are fostered all summer, she said.
“People who foster cats learn more about them and that leads to more getting adopted,” Heady explained.
Gallegos pointed to another prong of the strategy: Two mobile spay units will visit underserved areas to hold down the cat population.
What you can do to help
* Don’t let cats roam free outside. Put them on a leash or use outdoor caging systems.
* Spay/neuter your feline. Cats can give birth at a young age.
* Make sure your cat has a collar, tag and microchip.
* Foster a cat.
* If you have one cat, adopt another, Heady says two are as easy to care for as one and cats like to be paired off.
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