It is almost kitten season! Queue scary movie music.
This really is a terrifying time of year for animal
advocates as the need for people will sky rocket, the need for spay and neuter surgeries goes through the roof and the number of kitten deaths increases. It’s sad, but it’s true.
So, what can we do to prevent tragedies and strain on the already hurting bank statements of shelters and rescues?
First, we can actively advocate and support spay and neuter efforts. Personal pets should always be neutered or spayed, but feral cats should be, too. Altering feral cats is a humane way of controlling the pet population, as well as preventing the growth of cat colonies.
Trap, Neuter, Release or TNR is a program where cats are humanely trapped, brought to a veterinarian, spayed or neutered and released back to the same location. This is appropriate for feral cats as feral cats are not socialized and survive on their own. To determine if a feral cat in your area needs to be altered, be sure to check their ear to see if it has a tip removed or, if you safely can, check their stomach to see if there is a small lined tattoo. Most areas have a veterinarian who provides low cost spay and neuter surgery, be sure to search for this service in your area.
Second, we can physically care for the cats we come into contact with. Outdoor cats living in less than desirable conditions can suffer from and spread illness such as upper respiratory infections, fleas, ticks and heart worms. These are all treatable health concerns, but when cats are uncared for they can be deadly. If you come into contact with stray cats safely and humanely examine them:
Are they wheezing?
Do they have a thick coating over their eyes?
Are their ears black on the inside?
If they do have any of these, and you can, bring them into your garage or bathroom to get them into a warmer place. From here, contact a local rescue or your county animal shelter and ask for further instructions. Your actions of bringing them in your home and getting them may just save their life.
Third, spread the word! Use your social networks to raise awareness about foster opportunities, animal care, spay and neuter efforts and adoptable animals. Networking saves lives and helpless animals need all the exposure they can get!
Let us know about your experience with kitten care in the comments.
See you on the wild side,