Kitten Season

 

What is kitten season?

 Kitten season is the large increase of kittens being born. It is really three seasons in one, starting in spring, peaking in late  spring or early summer, and ending in autumn.

Kitten season is the time of year when cats give birth, flooding animal shelters and rescue groups across the nation with homeless litters.

Although cats can breed all year long, cats are heaviest “in heat” after winter. Mating season in cats is determined by a number of factors, including the presence of other cats, but especially the length of daylight. Hence a strong correlation with the warming weather and the kitten season.

A cat “in heat”

 Your cat's yowling with odd behaviour. Winter is over and the weather is warming up. (you have never had your cat desexed).  What’s up with my cat you may have wondered..!?

The answer is there is a big chance she’s in heat.  Essentially a cat in heat is a frisky cat.

 Common signs of a cat being in heat are:

  • More affectionate
  • Rubbing against people or objects
  • Rolling on the floor
  • Demanding more attention
  • Raising the hind quarters when rubbed or scratched
  • Becoming vocal or yowling
  • Urinating more frequently or marking on objects
  • Trying to escape to the outdoors

 (Please not that if you are unsure of or at all concerned regarding the above mentioned signs, please seek your local vet for advice, as certain signs can mimic other more serious conditions).

 The first heat cycle, called oestrus, happens at sexual maturity - when a kitten is around 6 months old (it may occur earlier). Cats stay in heat for roughly 7 to 10 days (can vary), and this heat cycle can happen every few weeks.

The ovulation cycle is different from that of humans. Ovulation is stimulated by mating, and it is normal for a cat to mate several times during a heat cycle.

 During the heat, the cat’s hormones rage. The cats can turn into hormonal versions of their once cuddly selves and will even sneak outdoors to find a mate.

So what’s the issue!?

 There are too many animals to care for.  As cats have very little difficulty conceiving and giving birth, the mating creates a domino effect and thousands of more kittens can be born from just a few un-desexed cats.

RSPCA Shelters and Volunteer Branches across the state are continuing to deal with the annual influx of cats and kittens that come to their doors during kitten season. As many as 50 cats can be delivered to a shelter in a single day.

 With resources stretched, shelters at capacity and foster carers utilised, organisations simply can’t care and rehome all animals received, and some are unfortunately euthanized.

How can you help?

 Desex your animal. Ask your local vet how.

 Desexing is when a cat or dog undergoes an operation that stops their ability to produce offspring. It is also known as castration (for male cats) and spaying (for female cats).

 It is normally recommended to desex a kitten before it reaches breeding age, which is approximately 6 months of age. This ensures that they do not go on heat and become pregnant (if female) or impregnate another cat (if male). Desexing operations can be conducted from as young as 8 weeks of age, although this usually only occurs in animal shelters where desexing is a crucial procedure undertaken before adoption can occur.

 Desexing is very important in controlling issues of overpopulation in cats. The more cats we are able to desex, the less unwanted kittens we will have. There will be fewer cats given up to animal shelters and fewer cats euthanized.

 The relatively low cost of desexing, and thereby preventing our pets from producing so many unwanted offspring, far outweighs the cost to the community of caring for unwanted puppies and kittens in shelters.

And don’t forget..

 Desex your cat to help out with kitten season.

  • Desexing doesn’t just stop with reducing animal overpopulation. There are other benefits such as reducing risks of mammary cancer and uterine diseases. Ask your vet.
  • To tell if a cat has been desexed, usually there is a tattoo in the inner left ear.
  • A Microchip is the main from of ID for our furry friends. This can be detected by taking the animal to your local vet for scanning.
  • If you are unsure of any new feline friends lurking in your neighbourhood, and it is safe to do so, bring them down to your local vet to be checked.
  • Help your local animal shelter – donate, volunteer, foster, adopt.