In the past week, the shelter has taken in 3 nursing queens with 16 kits, plus 2 more cats that were pregnant. That is just one shelter for one jurisdiction for one week. And the season is just starting. It will get much worse come May through September.
None of these cats are feral. They are all cats that have been surrendered to the shelter by their owners or were brought in as recent stays because they were abandoned by their owners.
The two pregnant cats were spayed and aborted. 2 of the 3 nursing queens are still kittens themselves. They are about 9 months old with 3 week old litters, meaning they were only about 6 months old when they got pregnant. I am fostering one of those litters, a 9 month old mama with 7 kittens.
Kittens (male and female) can be reproductive as early as 4 months old (although 6-8 months is more typical). PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE.....if you have cats that have not been spayed or neutered, get them spayed or neutered, even if they are indoor only cats, or you think you can keep or find home for litters should they get pregnant. An indoor cat will find a way to get outdoors if she is in heat (or if male, he senses a nearby female in heat). And even if you do keep or find homes for a litter, that represents that many cats that will live in cages at a shelter or be euthanized because they aren't being adopted by you or those you give your kittens to.
This is so sad, Nancy. And my gosh, SEVEN kittens. The most I've ever seen were six. Must of been hard on the mama cat, being so young herself. Will look forward to updates on this new litter. You're just awesome, Nancy, for all you do to help these poor things.
One of the litters I fostered last year (in fact the one Good Humor Man/Squeaky is from) had 7 kittens with no mama so I had to bottle feed them. The one I am fostering now is a very good mama for being such a tender age herself. She is super affectionate and doesn't mind me handling her kits at all. 3 of them are orange tabbies, 2 brown tabbies, and 2 solid black. The orange tabbies are all males, the brown tabbies both females, and 1 male and 1 female black. They are 3 weeks old and just now getting to the point where they are somewhat mobile and expressing interest in their surroundings. They all weigh between just under 8 ounces to just over 10 ounces.
When I left Manhattan many years ago there seemed to be a stray cat under every car. They avoided people and were not bothersome.
I retuned to Manhattan many years later and the island was filled with rats and mice. No cats. The animal lovers had gathered up the strays and killed them or neutered them. The rodents are systematically destroyed (not too successfully) with poisons dangerous to humans.
I don't know about the rest of you but I would rather have shy cats around me than dangerous rodents. As long as I live I will never neuter my cats, nor will most of my neighbors. We live in a rat-free community - just the way we like it. Keep your rats. I will keep cats.
Why are they collected in your shelter? Where aren't they out roaming wild and killing rats? Cats live very comfortably on their own. They are not dogs and they are not dangerous to humans. Turn them loose so they can do what they like best - hunting rodents.
I was at Longwood Gardens a couple of years ago. There are signs there that ask people not to remove the cats, that they are working cats. There are no rats in this famous botanical garden. Also, no dangerous poisons to kill rodents (and people). A cat is not a person. A cat is a fine hunter. He should live the life he was designed for. If allowed to, he is man's friend.
Fact: Feral, stray, and street cats live only about 1/2 as long as domesticated indoor house cats.
Fact: Feral, stray, and street cats don't roam. They form colonies based on available food sources, whether that be rats, garbage cans, or people who set out food for them.
Fact: Feral, stray, and street cats whose primary diet is rodents are a source of rabies.
Fact: In Texas, the primary predators of feral stray, and street cats are coyotes. Coyotes are also the primary predators of livestock. As the cat population grows, the coyote population grows, and the livestock population shrinks.
Fact: House cats were domesticated thousands of years ago, before horses, cattle, and chickens. Domesticated house cats are not fine hunters and many of those that are abandoned by their owners die of starvation because they do not know how to hunt.
That is why they are collected at our shelter, spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies and offered to any one who wants them as barn cats and mousers.
In the wild there are predators and prey. Sometimes the cat is a predator and sometimes it is prey. Your problem is that you are personifying the cat.
We are also predators. We kill steer, pigs, sheep, deer, lobsters, etc., etc. Obviously these animals don't live out their natural lifespan either, but no one grieves for them. We are also prey. Ask any rat who has taken a chomp on a child. . Cats do not attack people, rats do.
This is the choice - cats or rats. I will take cats any day.
" Nevermind......that was a rhetorical question.....I'm not really interested in your answer."
Of course you are not interested in my answer. It is upsetting to you. You are devoted to a cause and perhaps what I have to say makes you question its validity. There is no doubt that removing the rodents' natural predator results in the increase of the rat population. It also results in the use of poisons harmful to humans. I am on the side of humans.
I was wondering why I spent my time stoping here to listen this.Probably I was expecting just a normal talk we cat responsible owners always keep.
And,I Nancy,I do agree with you 100%!
You all from shelters do a great job!
Who doesnt want rats in the neighbouhood must do the best to keep the place clean and not provide food and shelter for those. Cats are not made for be free cleaners at risk of their own life!
We had 4 less than a week old kittens come in yesterday with no mama. Unfortunately, they didn't make it :-(
The mama with the litter of 7 that I am fostering are now 4 weeks old and just starting to show signs of readiness for weaning. Good timing, because I think the mama, who is only 9 months old herself, is starting to run low on milk, so I have been bottle feeding them a couple of times per day to supplement.
Nancy, we're gearing up for kitten season at the shelter where I volunteer; we had several new volunteer trainees at my shift alone this morning.
I wish I had the space and energy to foster kittens like you do; I think you're wonderful! I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures of this litter, too.
I've started to look for no-kill shelters when I travel; found a great one on Maui, where there is a sad lot of feral cats. There's also a feral cat coalition, and the shelter on Maui was involved in a huge spay/neuter drive not long ago.
I was watching a program on Animal Planet, and learned about Kitty City in New Mexico by the White Sands National Monument. It used to be that when I traveled I'd research places to shop for beads for my jewelry making; now I'm looking for shelters to visit. If I'm going to stay a couple weeks, I'll see if I can do some visitor volunteer work, like cat cuddling, cleaning, whatever they need help with.
The shelter where I volunteer has a sliding scale fee system for spaying or neutering cats, so money shouldn't be an issue. Many shelters have similar programs. I think that we need to have more education in communities; I'm seeing a lot more of it. Our Humane Society has posted lovely billboards, various shelters post fliers all over town; our shelter has volunteers go to all sorts of public events.
they are darling Nancy...kittens are always so darn cute. congrats on the good work to both you and fluffysmom....what would these poor little creatures do without the help of good ppl like yourselves.....♥
I took Emily and Judy, my two older foster kittens, back to the shelter today. Judy was adopted by a really nice family with 2 young daughters who fell in love with Judy and vice versa. Emily is still at the shelter, but hopefully she will get adopted some time this week.
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