Autumn Leaves are Falling but “Kitten Season” Continues at Purrfect Pals!
“Kitten Season” is the time of year when cats give birth, flooding animal shelters and rescue groups across the nation, including Purrfect Pals, with homeless litters of kittens. Some come to us with mama cats but many are orphaned and in need of feeding and medical care.
Unlike dogs, which breed year-round, cats generally reproduce in warmer months. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests kitten season is expanding. Shelter staff and volunteers are seeing kittens born earlier and later. The season just isn’t as well defined as it was in years past. Now, Kitten Season is really three seasons in one, with kitten births starting in spring, peaking in late spring or early summer, and ending in fall.
Why the change? According to Marisa Kashino of the Washingtonian, there are several theories as to why Kitten Season is lasting longer. Some believe that spring-like temperatures are beginning earlier, triggering cats to mate sooner. Veterinarians are skeptical of that idea, though. Dr. Rachael Kreisler, who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, explained that cats mate as the days get longer, not as temperatures warm. Unless climate change is increasing daylight hours, she says, the theory doesn’t hold up.
There could be other weather-related explanations. Dr. Kreisler said warmer temperatures might allow more kittens born during winter to survive long enough to be rescued. Nicer weather might also inspire more people to spend time outdoors in situations in which they find stray kittens and then bring them to shelters.
No matter what is actually causing a longer Kitten Season, the results are definitely being felt at Purrfect Pals. Adoptions of adult cats tend to decrease when kittens are available, unfortunately. Our bottom line is also suffering. Increased expenses for kitten food, supplies and veterinary care are becoming the norm and long gone are the days when only our summer budget was tighter.
When we hear the stories of the homeless kittens who end up on our doorstep, though, we know in our hearts that the expenses are more than worth it.
The story of Theodore and Dakota could easily have ended in tragedy. A kind cat lover was horrified when she found these two sweet kittens (and their deceased sibling) in a cardboard box in a dumpster. Fortunately, she rescued them just in time and brought them to Purrfect Pals for help. They smelled like garbage, were malnourished and covered in fleas but these boys had the loudest purrs we’ve heard recently. How someone could toss them out like trash is beyond us but we will make sure they find loving homes where they will be treasured and finally have the happy ending they deserve.
Perma was found wandering the streets shortly before giving birth at one of our local partner shelters. One of her kittens had been struggling to gain weight (and was half the size of the other kittens) so he stayed behind with mama when his siblings were weaned and old enough for adoption. Meanwhile, two orphaned kittens arrived (separately) at the shelter in desperate need of a mom so staff asked Perma if she would mind two more mouths to feed. She didn’t hesitate and this blended family is now in the care of a loving Purrfect Pals foster family.
Diamond and Dugout were discovered in a shed by good samaritans. Tiny Dugout was tangled in a batting cage net and had an injury under his front leg so he received medical care in our shelter’s clinic. They have been thriving in their foster home, where Dugout quickly recovered from the scary injuries. They are now ready to be spayed and neutered and placed in loving homes!
Autumn Surprise, a darling tortie, was also lucky to be rescued by kind people. They found her on the side of the road in rough shape and brought her to Purrfect Pals for help since this sweet and feisty kitten had clearly been hit by a car. We rushed Autumn to the emergency clinic where the veterinarians discovered she had a concussion, broken leg and damaged eye. She is now doing very well and recovering happily in a loving foster home. She recovered from her concussion and we were able to save her injured eye. Autumn’s broken leg was damaged beyond repair, though, and needed to be amputated. She sure is happy to no longer be wearing bandages and a cone!
Without the help of our donors, foster familes and volunteers, Purrfect Pals could not have provided these amazing kittens with second chances. Please consider helping us change the lives of many more homeless cat and kittens in the Puget Sound region by making a donation or signing up to volunteer or foster today. Thank you!