The worst of winter appears to be behind us, and Spring could well be afoot – meaning that for animal welfare groups around the province, there’s a wave of hard work coming their way.
‘Kitten season’ refers to the deluge of surrendered, dumped, abandoned and neglected kittens that tend to come every Spring as domestic cats give birth – and the numbers are often so high that animal welfare groups get swamped.
Nycki Wannamaker of Twin Meadows Animal Rescue Society (TMARS) in the Elk Valley explained that cats tend to only give birth in the warmer months of the year.
“Every Spring we have a huge flood of kittens, mostly due to irresponsible ownership,” she said, saying that in a typical year before she helped co-found TMARS she could take on around 40 kittens that were dumped around the valley.
”All you need to do (to avoid that) is get your cat fixed, or at the very least keep it inside until it gets fixed.”
She said that un-fixed cats lead to a sad spiral for the animals. Cats can give birth every four months to litters that average four kittens. If their owners can’t afford to care for so many, can’t give them away, or they become sick – they are surrendered or dumped in droves.
“One night a few summers ago there were three litters of kittens dumped at spots along the highway between Sparwood and Elkford.”
It didn’t have to be that way though, she said, explaining that besides the obvious help that donations and foster volunteers could give TMARS in providing care, “awareness is the biggest thing.”
“Get your cat spayed. If you’re not in a financial place to take care of a cat, consider not getting one,” she said.
For the wave of kittens that will come, Wannamaker said that while TMARS can’t help them all, they could point people to resources that could. “We don’t want the kittens to suffer.”
“There are resources. Just don’t dump the kittens – we need to know their age and where they came from and how we can help.”
For now, TMARS currently have three cats that are up for adoption – Missy, who is a three-year-old female who loves to cuddle and would need to be an indoor cat, and Hugo and Harlow – who are a package deal. They are brother and sister who are four years old and fully house trained, and according to the folks at TMARS would make great first time pets.
Reach out to TMARS through their website or Facebook page for more information on these three cats.
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