For the past couple of issues, I’ve told you about my adventures as a volunteer for a local animal shelter here in upstate New York.
There’s always a sizeable interest in kittens, especially in the winter when the holidays are approaching and litters are more scarce. Of course, fielding those inquiries when there is a handful of really nice adult cats waiting to be adopted is another quandary entirely.
And as you can imagine, all the kitten adoptions over the course of a year don’t necessarily work out. Recently, two six-month-old cats were relinquished; they proved to be too much for the autistic child of the family, so the parents returned the siblings to us.
Despite signing a contract to spay/neuter them when appropriate, both of these cats came back to us intact. And being brother and sister, they needed to be housed separately from each other lest we witness a lesson in reproduction in front of our very eyes. Of course, it was always possible that she was pregnant already. (Luckily, that wasn’t the case.)
Both have appointments next week before we will adopt them out again. Despite the fact that research shows that kittens can be spayed and neutered as young as eight weeks old (when deemed necessary for population control, for instance), there is still the tendency to think of them as “too little” or that the female certainly must be “too young” to become pregnant.
It’s important to dispell these myths, and we provide some good ammunition on page 10 of this issue (“Early Spay/Neuter for Kittens”). It’s also a good idea to become familiar with the low-cost spay/neuter programs in your area. You may not need the services, but you’d be surprised at how many new cat owners — or people who are feeding backyard strays — are unaware of the resources available to them. Helping to prevent even one feline pregnancy is a step toward solving the feline overpopulation problem, so why not be part of the solution?