Bye bye Winter, hello Spring, or as we in the animal biz call it, KITTEN SEASON!
Kitten season is the time of year (typically early spring through early fall) when animal shelters and rescues are flooded with, you guessed it, unwanted litters of kittens. It is most common for cats to give birth in the early spring, peaking in the summer, and usually tapering down in the early fall. The easiest way to help reduce the number of unwanted kittens is to have your pet cat spayed or neutered. PAWS of JH just so happens to have an excellent spay and neuter voucher program that issues free to low cost surgery vouchers in the Greater Jackson areas (more info below).
Surely, altering your own cat helps offset the number of unwanted litters, but there is more that we can do to really help make a dent into the amount of unwanted kittens born each year. PAWS of JH is expanding our efforts to reduce the growing number of feral cats in the Greater Jackson areas. Unchecked populations of feral cats lead to suffering and the spread of communicable diseases.
Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) is the most humane way to get control of the feral cat population. These cats are accustomed to living outdoors and would not thrive in a shelter or home environment. The kindest thing we can do for these cats is to care for them and make sure their populations are controlled. Over time, these healthy colonies will diminish due to halting the reproduction cycles, our harsh climate, old age, and natural predation. Currently PAWS works with two local trappers who will go to your property, trap the feral cats, bring them to a local vet to be altered, and then return the cats to you. They’ll even give you free cat food to keep the colony fed and happy. PAWS of JH will cover the surgery costs and has resources for donated cat food.
WAYS TO HELP
1. Spay/ Neuter your own cat. If the cost of surgery isn’t something you have budgeted for this year please fill out a spay/ neuter voucher application via our website and we will contact you shortly. https://pawsofjh.org/programs/spay-neuter/
2. Be aware of feral/stray/outdoor cats living on your property and have them altered. Please call the PAWS office at 307-734-2441 if you have cats living in your backyard, shed, barn, etc and PAWS can get a trapper out to your property to trap them, transport them to the vet, and return them. This time of year you may see mother cats with litters and the best thing you can do for these babies is to get them spayed or neutered before allowing them to live on your property or attempt at adopting them out to the public. Kittens are able to start reproducing at four months of age.
3. Be a friend to the feral felines. Once the cats have been altered provide them with food, water, and adequate shelter. These cats prefer to be out on their own and “wild,” but do need a little help from their human friends. Putting out cat kibble and fresh water will help keep these cats healthy as well as improve your relationship with them. There is trust in food. If your property does not have a separate cat friendly shelter you can make outdoor cat boxes for very little money.
Check out this DIY example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpW69fNzcjc
4. Adopt don’t shop. If you are in the market for a feline addition to your home please adopt from one of our local shelters or rescues. Your new cat will come spay/neutered, fully vetted, and most importantly you will be saving two cat lives, the one you’ve adopted and the one that will quickly takes its place.
5. Volunteer. Interested in being part of the kitten season solution? PAWS of JH is currently recruiting cat-trappers in Star Valley, Jackson, and Teton Valley so we can continue to expand our efforts and always have a trapper ready when needed. PAWS can provide training with an existing trapper for those who are not trap-savy. PAWS will provide all of the needed supplies for successful and safe trapping. Not into trapping? Please spread the word to your friends, co-workers, and neighbors that our TNR and Spay/Neuter Voucher programs exist and that we are happy to help! Feel free to contact our office at 307-734-2441 or [email protected] for any additional information.