Did you know spring kicks off a phenomenon known as kitten season? That’s right, there is a season just for kittens and it is upon us! Depending on how you feel about cats, kitten season can sound like the best season of the year. Sounds like cuteness in abundance, round kitten bellies and playtime all day long! Unfortunately, kitten season isn’t quite that, especially for the kittens and the people who opt to take care of them. (Though there is a lot of cuteness.) Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about kitten season:
What Is Kitten Season?
What is kitten season, you ask? As winter draws to a close and the weather begins to warm, many unaltered female cats are in heat. Sixty days later they begin giving birth to litters of kittens. Many shelters, including our own Adopt & Shop, Kitten Foster Project and Catty Wagon, become overwhelmed with unwanted kittens from March through October, so if you’re contemplating adopting or fostering a kitten, look no further than your local animal shelter. Kitten season occurs usually twice a year, and in colder areas, once a year. California is unique in that they have kitten season on average twice a year because of the warmer weather. It is possible that cats can have kittens in other times of the year as well.
Why Is There a Kitten Season?
Kitten season is usually in line with when cats go into heat. November, December and January are colder months and cats usually go into heat when the weather gets nicer.
What Does Being ‘in Heat’ Mean?
When a cat is in heat, the cat is ready to meet a mate and conceive kittens. There are only certain periods of the year when cats are in heat and that is in line with the weather, as described above.
What is a Litter?
A litter is a number of kittens that a female cat can have through a pregnancy. On average, a cat can have anywhere from 4-8 kittens. Because a cat can have on average 4-8 kittens during on pregnancy, and a cat can be pregnant several times a year, the cat population gets bigger at a faster rate than the dog population. This is a reason why spaying or neutering your cat is so important.
How Many Litters Can a Cat Have?
A cat can have more than one litter through one pregnancy. During the average 7-day period when cats are in heat, cats can have encounters with multiple male cats and be impregnated by multiple male cats and have the multiple cats’ litters all at one time – meaning they can give birth to cats with different fathers at once!
5 Quick Kitten Facts
- Felines are considered kittens until they are 1 year in age.
- All kittens are born with blue eyes with their permanent eye color appearing around 4 weeks of age.
- An unaltered female cat can become pregnant at 4 months of age so spay your kitten!
- A kitten can be spayed or neutered when they reach 2 pounds in body weight, typically at 8 weeks of age.
- Kittens instinctively know to use a litter box.
How Can I Help?
Shelters and cat rescues almost always need donations and foster parents during kitten season. Adopting or fostering a kitten will provide you with hours of fun and entertainment. Of course, a kitten’s favorite toy is another kitten, so you may want to consider adopting a second cat. Two kittens growing up together will be well socialized, and interested in exploring new things. See more why two kittens are better than one! Curious about what this would be like? Read this first-hand account of what it’s like to foster kittens. If this route isn’t for you, see if organizations in your area need supplies like litter, food, blankets and toys.
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