Friday, January 17, 2014


            Every year, in Ontario, thousands of cats end up on the street or in shelters because their owners, for various reasons, neglect to get their female cats spayed.
            It is amazing that one female cat, allowed to breed for ten years, could result in 320 kittens.  Studies show that spaying cats reduces shelter intake and euthanasia.  It also reduces health risks, physical stress, and improves behavior.  Additionally, cats that have been spayed are less likely to roam, reducing the risk of injury, accident, and loss.  Owners of female cats are urged to have them spayed as soon as possible.
            If you haven’t had the chance to get your feline friend spayed, be careful that you do not let her out.  A female cat that is in heat will find any opportunity to get away.  If your cat has managed to escape the house, she is apt to stay out all night and come back pregnant.  Sixty to sixty-seven days later, she will find a quiet and dark place, usually your closet, and give you a pleasant surprise of 4-6 kittens.
            From that point, you have approximately six to eight weeks to find homes for those kittens.  Some experts say that it is best to wait until they are twelve weeks of age, but by then they start to lose their kitty appeal.  Most kittens will start to eat wet food at four weeks, at which time the mother is weaning them.  Once they start to eat wet food, they can be easily litter trained.
            The first thing to do is tell as many people as possible, including family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and co-workers.  Tell everyone at your doctor’s office, dentist’s office, church, school, local gym, and recreation center; all the places you frequent.  Everywhere you go tell people that your cat has had kittens and they will be ready to go in as little as six weeks.  If one or more of these people are not interested in giving a kitten a good home, then perhaps someone they know will be.
            The next thing to do is to call pet stores in your community and ask if they are accepting kittens.  Some pet stores will take kittens without charge.  Others may charge you a small fee.  It is up to you to ask beforehand.  The Yellow Pages is a great place to start your search for pet stores in your area.  If you are feeling motivated, and don’t mind driving the distance, you can call pet stores outside your community.  The extra effort may be worth it.
            Once you have called pet stores, you should consider putting up flyers.  If you do not have a computer at home, then a trip to the nearest library is eminent.  Handmade posters and flyers are just as good as typed ones; however, you will need to go to the library or a photocopy shop to get copies made.  The most important thing is the information on the flyer.  Always emphasize that the kittens are free in big, bold, capital letters.  The date of birth is not important; just the date when they will be ready to go to a good home.  Also, mention that they will be litter-trained.  Don’t forget the most important thing:  a phone number where you can be reached.  Once you have your flyers ready, you can tape them anywhere and to anything you are allowed.  A lot of department and grocery stores have bulletin boards for your convenience.  Pet supply stores are great places to advertise, as well as bus stops and shelters.
            If you have older children, they can help by going door-to-door to place flyers in mailboxes.  If you have a newspaper carrier on your street or in your neighborhood, then you can offer a small fee to have him/her do it.  Otherwise, be prepared to do a little walking on your own.  There may be designated dog parks in your neighborhood and it would be a good idea to journey to nearby streets, as some dog lovers love cats as well.  You’ll never know who is interested in owning a cat unless you approach them. 
          So, you have the word out, the pet stores have been called, and the flyers are everywhere.  If you've managed to get rid of some of those kittens, congratulations are in order. But, maybe you have a kitten or two left and time is running out because kittens tend to grow fast.  This next idea might be a little off-the-wall, but by now you are probably desperate and will do anything to get rid of those kittens.
You will need a cardboard box for each kitten that you have left.  Make sure it is big enough for the kitten and high enough so that it can’t climb out.  Don’t cover the kitten with the flaps because the object is to let people see the kitten.  On the sides of the box in large letters write, “FREE KITTENS”.  Place each kitten in its box and take them to the nearest plaza or mall.  Go to the most common entrance, where there are benches to sit on, and put your kittens out for everyone to see.  You will be amazed at how fast people come over to see those precious adorable animals.  In no time at all you will have found homes for each of them.
However, do not make the mistake of giving one to a child or teenager; you are simply asking for trouble.  If a child or teenager is interested, tell them to call a parent and ask for permission first.  Also, it is a good idea that the parent come to get the kitten.  That way, you can speak with them to make sure that they are sincere in their intentions; you want to give the kittens good homes.  If a parent cannot come at that point, then you can speak with them to arrange another pick-up time. 
Hopefully, it will take only a few hours to get rid of your cat’s kittens, and by now, you have realized how important it is to get your cat spayed.  You can feel proud that you did the work to give the kittens loving homes instead of dropping them off to the nearest overcrowded shelter. The only thing left to do, when you get home, is pick up the telephone and call your local vet.