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March – April – May. It’s kitten season. Oh, those adorable, cuddly balls of fur! I love watching them frolic with their litter mates, or just listening to them purr softly. Nothing could be cuter. When they are weaned at about 4-5 weeks of age, they will all find safe, loving homes where they will be well cared for and adored by their owners. Each one will be spayed and neutered, living a long, happy and healthy life….and then I wake up. Yes, it was only a dream – or was it just wishful thinking.

The fact is, here in the real world, the over-population of kittens has become explosive, as it always does at this time of year. Thousands of kittens will be born daily in the U.S., mothers giving birth as young as 6 months of age. As soon as her kittens are weaned, she will repeat this cycle, having one, two, possibly three litters per year, five to six kittens in each. And so it begins again…The clock is ticking.

Those unspayed moms that have repeat pregnancies will become severely stressed, thin, weak, and susceptible to feline leukemia, internal and external parasites, respiratory viruses, panleukopenia, and feline aids. This is due to having no time to recover and regain strength before becoming pregnant again.

All too often her offspring will never know a safe, loving home. They may be left at already overcrowded shelters, placed in rescues, or become starving homeless ferals, only they, themselves to reproduce again and again. Finding homes for the vast amount of kittens born is impossible.

There are over 146 million cats in the U.S. Half are family pets, the rest are strays or ferals. It is no wonder that an estimated 41% of all cats entering shelters are euthanized.

As for feral cats – the trap-neuter-return program is a humane and cost effective alternative to euthanasia. But, do keep in mind that there are only a small handful of caring people who give their time to feed and care for the seemingly endless colonies of feral cats in every county across the U.S. Remember, these cats do not choose to be feral. In all instances, it began as being human caused.

Spaying and neutering your family cat is the only answer. This painless surgery not only reduces the over population of kittens, but eliminates the chance of diseases of the reproductive organs of both males and females. Neutering reduces cat fights, spraying and the urge to roam. The old myth that your cat will become fat and lazy after being altered is not true. Overweight is caused by overeating and lack of exercise, plain and simple. There is no excuse for not spaying or neutering your pet. The cost is very affordable, much less expensive than raising and properly caring for a litter. Low cost clinics and discount coupons are readily available. It is a small price to pay for the comfort and good health of your family companion.

Overpopulation is a national crisis that is everyone’s responsibility. In California alone, $50 million is spent annually by animal control agencies in cat related expenses.

Remember, preventing births will help save the lives of many other cats and kittens already in shelters. Every few minutes, another litter is born. Please, spay or neuter your family cat or sponsor a spay today!

The clock is ticking.

Chic Miller

Bella Vista Farms Animal Sanctuary

4301 Lower Gas Point Road

Cottonwood, CA 96022 530-347-0544

Two uncontrolled breeding cats…Plus all their kittens and their kittens’ kittens, if none are ever spayed or neutered, add up to:

1st Year: 12

2nd Year: 66

3rd Year: 382

4th Year: 2,201

5th Year: 12,680

6th Year: 73,041

7th Year: 420,715

8th Year: 2,423,316

9th Year: 13,958,290

10th Year: 80,399,780

That is:

*2 Litters per year

*2.8 Surviving kittens per litter

*10 Year breeding life

Typical pyramid

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