We are not featuring any specific pets for this week. Instead we want to talk about kitties. Did you know that here in the Ozarks we have 5 seasons? In addition to spring, summer, fall and winter, we also have Kitten Season. Have you ever heard of “Kitten Season”? Well Kitten Season has started in the Ozarks. This week we had an arrival of three litters (11 kittens) to the Shelter plus one little girl that was found in Bull Shoals White River State Park. These kittens range in age from about 1 to 6 weeks old. We are continuing to get more calls about litters that we are unable to accept due to limited space. Generally, Kitten Season starts in March and usually lasts until June, but the actual length of the spring kitten season varies around the country. For instance, the Northeast may experience a shorter season compared to the Southwest, where cats can breed year-round because of the warm temperatures. Most female cats give birth in the spring and then again in late summer, but some cats have three litters a year. During the summer months cat rescues are inundated with stray and unwanted kittens needing homes. During the winter there is usually a brief period of time with fewer ‘out of season’ litters being born. So how do we manage this? SPAY AND NEUTER! Last December we had a Cat Only Spay & Neuter Clinic where we sterilized 74 cats in 1 day. The Community Cat Project, a part of the Volunteer Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic was started in November of 2016 and helps people get community cats sterilized year round. In their short history, they have sterilized over 200 cats from stray communities throughout Marion & Baxter County. We catch the stray cats, have them sterilized, and then release them back to their area. While the cat is under anesthesia, the vet cuts a little notch in their ear so it is easy to identify the ones that have been sterilized. The Humane Society of North Central Arkansas just received a grant to spay community cats, so they are also helping people from both Marion & Baxter Counties.
Spay USA has a cat reproduction pyramid that says one female cat and her offspring can reproduce almost 400,000 cats in 7 years. Locally, we had a man in a rural area with a few barn cats that turned into over 100 within a few years and then complained that he couldn’t afford to feed them. Spay & Neutering is a lot cheaper than feeding a large colony of cats. We need to stop this Cat Explosion. A cat’s pregnancy lasts about 63-65 days. Also, a cat can have kittens when she’s only 6 months old. Litters are usually 1 to 8 kittens with 4 or 5 being the average. Quick math can show you the average young female kitten can turn into 10 in one year.
With the arrival of kittens, the Shelter is in need of Kitten Chow and canned kitten food, as well as, milk replacement supplement. If we can’t take the kittens into the Shelter, we help people who are willing to foster kittens at their homes until we have room for them at the Shelter. If you want to adopt a cat or kitten, we have several up for adoption for $50 each. They are all sterilized and up to date on their vaccines (Much less expensive than taking a cat from a friend). Do your part to help keep a healthy and manageable cat population. Spay or neuter your pets.
In other news, we are finalizing plans for our first annual Bark in the Park on Saturday, May 19th. (Rain date May 26th.) Plan to join us and show your support for our shelter. Watch for the flyers around town for more info or check the website, www.haveaheartpetshelter.org. The shelter and thrift store is located at 657 Highway 202 in Yellville. We are open Tuesday through Saturday 9am-3pm. Closed Sunday and Monday (but we still walk the dogs). Phone 870-449-7387.