Longer days. Backyard barbeques. Bumble bees buzzing. These are just a few of the things that remind us summer is coming. But for the BC SPCA, there’s another indicator. Kittens. Thousands of them.
“The BC SPCA and other animal rescue organizations refer to this time of year as ‘kitten season,’” explains Meghann Cant, BC SPCA animal welfare educator. “Cats tend to breed seasonally, with babies born during the warmer months. So from the spring through to the fall, we see a huge influx of surrendered and abandoned kittens.”
Many of the kittens are the result of an accidental litter, brought to the BC SPCA by owners unable to care for them. Others are brought in as strays, the offspring of cats who have themselves been abandoned. Many are orphaned, and go straight into the care of volunteer foster guardians who bottle-feed and socialize them until they are ready for adoption. “Regardless of the reason they come to us, all of these kittens need loving homes for the rest of their lives,” says Cant.
While there’s no denying the zany cuteness of kittens, Cant notes that all too often people who couldn’t resist the adorable kitten lose interest when she grows into a calmer adult cat. “Kittenhood is a relatively short period in a cat’s life, which can last more than 20 years. So before you adopt, make sure you’re ready for a long-term commitment.”
Meanwhile, kitten season does not mean adult cats stop arriving at BC SPCA shelters. One of the biggest challenges this time of year is continuing to find homes for the older cats. “There are hundreds of wonderful adult and senior cats awaiting adoption, and on average they wait much longer than kittens,” says Cant. She adds that there are plenty of advantages to adopting a more mature cat as opposed to a kitten. “They’re usually litter box trained, they don’t demand as much supervision and their personalities are already developed, so you know what you’re getting.”
Whether choosing a kitten or adult cat, adopting from the BC SPCA not only makes a difference for that animal, but it also helps to bring an end to pet overpopulation. “As much as we love kittens, the fact remains that most people just can’t take care of an accidental litter,” says Cant. “That’s why it’s so important for all cat guardians to make sure their pet is spayed or neutered, and why the BC SPCA is committed to ensuring all cats are fixed prior to adoption from a BC SPCA shelter. This way, we are preventing more unwanted litters and reducing the number of homeless animals.”
Ready to welcome a feline friend into your home? Visit your local BC SPCA branch to find the right match for you.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.