Tagged: “spay/neuter”

Little Ones are Coming!

Little Ones are Coming!

Do you see strange rustling in your bushes?  Hear funny noises coming from under your porch?  It’s Springtime and with the change in season come kittens (among other young).  About this time, they are getting old enough to venture from the nest and you may soon see little fluff balls.  If we are to tame them down and find them homes, it’s critical that they be caught before they are eight weeks old.  That means as soon as you see them, catch them!

Kittens have a shorter, and earlier, socializing period than dogs.  It starts at two-weeks-old (if you are raising kittens it’s important for them to be handled daily at this early age) and pretty much is over by ten weeks.  If kittens are not socialized by then it becomes increasingly more difficult and less successful.  It’s a shame to sentence these young animals to the rough life of a feral when they could be caught early and tamed down.  The important point is not to wait.  Too many people think, I’ll catch them on the weekend, or I’ll try to get them used to coming for food and then I’ll work on getting them to trust me and then I’ll catch them.  NO!  They need to be caught today!  Immediately!

Although it’s true that for super young kittens, with their eyes still closed, staying with the mom is the best thing for them, as soon as they are old enough to walk around and venture a bit on their own they are old enough to be caught and brought in for taming.  Of course if your tame cat had kittens you wouldn’t want to separate them until the kittens are at least seven weeks old (eight is even better), but that assumes that you are handling, playing and socializing the kittens the whole time.  It’s also not in their best interest to be adopted out singly too young – they learn a lot about bite inhibition and appropriate play by remaining with their littermates until they are at least a couple months old.

Along with catching the babies, you definitely want to catch the mom to get her spayed.  Otherwise you will be repeating this scenario again in another three months (gestation is about 63 days and the kittens start moving around at about 4 weeks of age).  Forgotten Felines runs weekly spay/neuter clinics for trapped ferals in our County – call 576-7999 for an appointment and helpful tips and information about how to trap mom-cats.  They can also give you great advice on how to socialize the young, if you are willing to do it yourself – otherwise they will point you in the direction of the animal shelter that services your area.

We have foster parents who have signed up to help raise these orphan kittens – a very satisfying (and fun) job indeed!  It’s considered the politically correct way to have kittens – all the fun without the lifetime of responsibility!  If you are interested there is more information on our website (rpanimalshelter.org) or at the shelter.  Meantime, don’t just watch these cuties grow up wild out there; all too quickly it will be too late.  Thanks for getting involved and helping them out.  Maybe there is a reason they picked your bush or patio!

Spay & Neuter Works!

Spay & Neuter Works!

Animal Shelter workers normally dread September.  It is typically the high point of our animal population, with kittens filling every cage and foster home and back to school activities decreasing the number of adoptions.  One fall day a few years ago someone asked me how many kittens we had and I took the time to do an actual head count.  In our shelter that day were 96 kittens and another 54 were out in foster homes!  By September the initial rush of excitement at seeing cute, young kittens is over and all those people who waited through the winter to adopt a kitten have already made their selection.

The saddest part was watching the tiny babies that came in during the summer continue to grow up in the shelter.  Predictably the smallest kitten (no matter the temperament) would be the first to be adopted out of the adoption room.  So as new, young kittens continue to come in, the biggest kittens were by-passed and just got bigger.  Also predictable was the fact that any kitten of color would be adopted before a black one.  By October our adoption room would be filled with teenage black cats – just in time for a Halloween special!

This year we witnessed a miracle!  A truly unique phenomenon for a municipal, open-admission shelter.  A couple of weeks ago we adopted out the last pair of kittens in our adoption room.  Let me say that again, our shelter ran out of adoption kittens.  We’re so proud and happy about that we were doing our happy dance down the hallway!  Not that I’m saying we were totally out of the little fur-balls – there were still some young ones and some shy ones in foster care.  But that Saturday night our adoption kitten room was completely empty.  And it was only the middle of September!

I know shelters all around us are still full of kittens.  As soon as I posted our good news on our Facebook page, the requests for help started coming in.  Sad stories of shelters buried in the influx of young kittens.  Stories that we all know only too well. Sadly too the fire started in Lake County and all media and shelter attention was diverted to helping those victims.  We are glad to be able to offer assistance to other shelters whenever we can and have brought in several litters of kittens from other places.

What do we attribute this miracle to?  An aggressive spay/neuter program.  We are the only shelter in the area that offers our citizens free cat surgeries, and have been doing that since 2008.  So actually the more surprising thing is that we’ve gotten in any unwanted litters at all!  Seven years of paying for everyone to have their cats fixed is making a difference!  We are continuing this program so here’s another plug for it.  If you know anyone living in Rohnert Park or the City limits of Cotati that has an intact cat please let them know that we offer this program!  They just need to call 588-3531 to make an appointment.

We love being able to offer our help to other crowded shelters – not to mention bragging about our success!  Maybe next year we can empty our shelter by August.  We’re making that our new goal.  With your help and support, we can do it!