Looking Back At Kitten Season 2020
Written By Town Cats
Every year at Town Cats, we encounter numerous cats and kittens needing our help. Especially in the spring and summer months, during what is referred to as “kitten season.” Kitten season begins when the weather warms up, and non-sterilized cats begin to reproduce. One female cat can produce an average of 21 kittens per year! This is why it’s so important to spay and neuter our pets as well as ferals in the community. Many of these kittens are born outside and found by good samaritans. Typically, when a feral mom cat is around, her kittens will be left with her until they are old enough to be weaned. Once they’re not reliant on her for nourishment, the kittens can be caught and taken to rescues like ours, where we place them with loving fosters who care for them until they’re old enough to be sterilized and find their forever homes. If mom is feral, she’ll be TNR’d (Trapped, Neutered, and Released) back to the neighborhood. If mom is friendly, she can go to a foster home with her babies and adopted as well. Shelters and rescues are always near capacity during kitten season because litters can range from four to seven kittens; we even had a litter of eight this year! As you can imagine, with that many kittens requiring care, the need for compassionate fosters is vast. Fostering allows these kittens to spend their early life in homes instead of at the shelter, which reduces illness and increased sociability in the cat.
Our foster program in 2020 was led by our new Foster Coordinator, Rylee Garrett. She’s been with Town Cats since 2014, first as a volunteer and then as staff, and she has a strong passion for helping cats and kittens in need. Rylee works to coordinate intakes of kittens from the municipal shelters and the public, and she speedily lines up foster homes so that no kitten has to stay overnight at the shelter. She is also responsible for performing wellness exams and ensuring that kittens are thriving in their foster home. At wellness exams, kittens receive flea treatment, dewormers, and vaccinations to prevent illness. Due to our record number of kittens this season, Rylee devoted much of her time to leading our foster program with the staff’s support at Town Cats, including our Adoption Coordinator Nineveh and our shelter care team Jose and Art, as well dedicated volunteers like Yui, who assisted during wellness exams. Nineveh played a vital role in kitten season, too: she found homes for all of the kittens after they were spayed and neutered! Together, Rylee & Nineveh made a great pair to maximize our lifesaving efforts in 2020.
As with many other organizations, we were impacted by the economic crisis caused by Covid-19. However, our community stepped up to the challenge and helped us get through it. We had more foster families than ever before, and those who couldn’t foster helped with donations of food and supplies that helped keep the program running. Despite the challenges, we have some great highlights to look back on. One of our fosters, Hanna, fostered a total of 17 kittens in 2020! We encountered large litters, such as the ”Friends” litter with Momma Monica and her seven kittens or Momma Callie and her six little ones. We had another group of six kittens rescued without their mom, two of which had special needs/challenges. Mara, who was adopted by staff member Jilliann, had come to us with a fracture in her front leg that was too damaged to repair, but she doesn’t let that get in her way! She absolutely loves playing with her two dog sisters, and you’d never guess that she has a disability. Her sister, Jinx, is currently in a foster home with a seizure disorder that developed a few months ago. Jinx was recently diagnosed with epilepsy, but with the dedicated veterinary staff at Sage, she’ll soon be ready to find her own forever family, too! Besides kittens, we also had senior cats who went to foster homes, where they could get some TLC while they awaited their perfect person. Billie Mewlish was an older cat with hyperthyroidism which was shy in the shelter setting. She first went to a foster home with Michelle, who helped her come out of her shell, and she then went on to be adopted! We also had another cat named Angel, who we pulled from the municipal shelter. At 17 years old, Angel has some health conditions: stage-two kidney disease, ringworm, and a mass in her abdomen. Her foster, Laura, fell in love with her and decided to adopt her!
Overall, the kitten season of 2020 was our most successful yet! We saw a 12% increase in the total number of kittens in our foster program, and we had 356 cats and kittens find their forever homes! Despite the challenges that 2020 brought, the community joined us in working together to provide foster homes for more than 260 cats and kittens. We are continuing to improve our foster program so that we can save even more cats and kittens in 2021! We couldn’t do what we do without our community’s support and the generosity of people like you. If you’d like to contribute or get started as a foster, please go to our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edited by Rena Henderson