I’d like a kitty – but don’t know if I should be looking for a cat or a kitten.
First of all, what is your lifestyle? If you work long hours or travel a great deal, consider an adult cat. Kittens require a lot of time, attention – and supervision. An adult kitty will certainly enjoy (and need) your affection, but will be lower maintenance.
That said, even people who work full-time can successfully adopt a kitten! The best strategy is to either adopt a kitten as a companion for the adult cat you already have, or to adopt a PAIR of kittens. Kittens need company, and while another cat is not a substitute for human love, it can be an effective complement.
Two kittens are easier than one!
Why is this the case? Because a pair of kittens will entertain themselves for hours, chasing, pouncing, wrestling, cuddling, grooming, and even napping…together. Kittens have a tremendous amount of energy, and having a buddy to expend that energy onto is a lifesaver. Moreover, the work required is the same needed in caring for a solo cat – feeding, providing fresh water, cleaning the litter box, and loving.
When is Kitten Season, and what does that mean?
‘Kitten Season’ refers to the months in which most kitten births take place: April through September, with the peak in June through August. Giving birth during these months, when weather more temperate and food is more plentiful, is an evolutionary strategy: newborns are more likely to survive.
Unfortunately, the OPPOSITE holds true for kittens in Los Angeles and across the United States. Stray kittens and abandoned litters flood Los Angeles County shelters, resulting in overpopulation and spiked euthanasia rates.
Kittens become the #1 euthanized animal: shelters do not have enough room for so many kittens; oftentimes kittens are found or turned in without a nursing mother, and shelters do not have the staff (paid or volunteer) for round-the-clock bottle feeding; and, kittens have fragile immune systems, making them susceptible to highly contagious viruses and bacteria.
What can I do to help?
First of all, make SURE your cat is spayed or neutered! Even if you have an indoor-only kitty, the urge to mate is primal. If your kitty gets out, he or she will copulate for sure. (Owners of male cats share equal responsibility. It takes two to tango!)
Second, be a busy-body. Casually ask your friends, neighbors, relatives and coworkers if their own cats are fixed…and then nicely refer them to your vet, or to low-cost sterilization programs such as the ones sponsored by Fix Nation in Burbank (www.fixnation.org). Remember, female cats can get pregnant as early as 6 months old and can have 2 litters of 4 or more kittens each year.
Third, volunteer! Los Angeles Animal Services (www.laanimalservices.com), which runs our city’s shelters, needs foster homes for litters – and if you can bottle feed every few hours, you are worth your weight in gold. Much Love also needs foster homes for litters – the more fosters we have, the more kittens we can rescue.
Finally, adopt from a rescue or a shelter. Tempting as it may be, do not adopt from someone who has allowed their cat to get pregnant. Doing so condones – and even encourages – that individual to continue to abdicate her responsibility to sterilize her cat.
Okay, I’m sold! How do I pick the right kitten for me?
Start by checking out Peter and Francis, two Much Love kittens that just became available for adoption. Visit our website regularly over the coming months to see the many wonderful kittens we will have!