Sorry kid, there’s nothing free about those kittens
It’s officially Spring.
Which means that Kitten Season is almost upon us. You’ll start to see those cardboard boxes with Free Kitten signs outside the local grocery store or at a yard sale on the weekends
And it means that on Monday mornings, the staff at SoHumane.org will start finding those same boxes left outside our front door, with the kittens, those that are still alive, crying for food.
I remind my staff, volunteers and supporters almost daily that I don’t dwell on how dogs and cats came to us, only that they are here with us know and that they’re in good hands and we’ll find them a home.
But I haven’t experienced Kitten Season yet.
Feral and community cats contribute greatly to the cat overpopulation, but those cute kids at the grocery store didn’t get those kittens from a feral cat under the garage. They came from the family pet. That means the situation was completely avoidable. For just $25.
I’ve read stastics that show up to 80 percent of all domestic cats (living in or at a home where they are fed and cared for) are spayed or neutered. That means, at the most conservative measure, 20 percent are not.
Now here’s a math quiz for the kids. If you let just one of those cute little kittens get pregnant, how many cats would be created in just 4 years?
Cats can go into heat as early as 4 and a half months old and can get pregnant while still nursing the litter. And with gestation taking just a little over two months, a cat can have four litters per year.
But lets say the cat only gets pregnant half as many time – two times a year. And that out of a normal litter of six, only half of them survive. Research shows that if that holds true for the cat and all its offspring (only 2 pregnancies per year, only three surviving kittens per litter), in less than 4 years, there would be 2,000 cats as a result of that first pregnancy.
Of course, that assumes that all those cats live all four years. The life expectancy for a domesitcated cat has almost doubled since 1980, up from 6-8 years to 12-14 years.
So if the orginal cat lives 8 years, and all its progeny are equally lucky, the total now grows to more than 2 million. Yes, million.
That $25 is probably looking like a pretty good deal right about now, huh?