By Jamie Stillwachs, McDowell County Chapter Manager
The start of springtime is a joyous occasion for many people, but in the animal welfare community it means one thing: Kitten Season. Kitten Season is the time of year when unspayed female cats go into heat and begin breeding — in our warm region, this generally happens between March and October.
A female cat can become pregnant several times over the course of the season. And since Kitten Season lasts for roughly seven months and kittens can get pregnant at as young as 4 months… kittens can give birth to their own litters during the same season they are born! In just one season, an unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce hundreds of homeless cats.
During this time, animal shelters and rescues become flooded with pregnant cats, nursing moms and litters, and kittens.
In Brother Wolf’s chapter locations, where we are still building resources and working to educate about the importance of spaying and neutering, Kitten Season is especially strenuous. In McDowell County, for instance, our chapter is the main rescue who takes in cats and kittens. Therefore, we bear the brunt of Kitten Season on our shoulders.
Pregnant cats, those who are nursing litters, and kittens who are too young to be adopted can only leave the county shelter through a rescue like Brother Wolf. The sad and stressful fact is that if we can’t take them, they likely won’t make it out alive.
This, compounded with the ten or more requests we receive each day from people in our community who need help, means Kitten Season hits us each year like an tornado.
Kittens arrive in cardboard boxes, or they come with respiratory infections and injuries. Pregnant and nursing cats are a packaged deal when they arrive with kittens or soon-to-be litters.
Cassie is a young bobtail cat who came to us this week. Her caretakers found her as a stray, along with several other cats who had shown up at their home looking for food and a safe place to sleep. In an effort to prevent them from going to the shelter, they fed the cats and let them stay on their property. Without access to the resources to spay and neuter, the females had become pregnant one by one.
Last week, Cassie delivered her kittens in a wood pile and her caretakers brought her and her two young and malnourished kittens to us. Although she had milk, she seemed terrified and confused about nursing and wasn’t instinctively providing the level of care newborn kittens need.
Natasha, a McDowell chapter foster parent, jumped in and offered a safe space for the small family and is doing her best to help the kittens grow stronger. Thanks to Natasha, the kittens are receiving love and socialization from their mom while also getting supplemental formula feedings from their foster mom. Without a foster home and the necessary supplies, Cassie’s babies may not have made it.
With your support, we will continue to help animals like Cassie and her babies, along with the hundreds of other cats and kittens who will come to us this Kitten Season. Monetary and supply donations are desperately needed to get these animals off the streets, out of the shelter, and into safe foster homes.
We also need more local fosters who are willing to open their hearts and homes to cats and kittens. We will provide all of the supplies and medical care you’ll need, as well as training and support along the way! Click here to learn more about fostering.
Please use the button below to make a donation to our McDowell County chapter, so we’re best prepared to save the animals who need us most this year. Working together, we will make McDowell County a true No-Kill community!
The McDowell County chapter of Brother Wolf Animal Rescue helps build the resources and programs necessary to create a No-Kill McDowell County. We collaborate with the county shelter and our community to identify animals most at risk and work to save their lives through our adoption, foster, volunteer, outreach, and pet retention programs.