The term “kitten season” sounds like something out of a children’s book ― a magical time when tiny purring fur-balls sprout like blossoms beneath rainbows in dew-kissed meadows. But to animal rescuers and shelters, the mere mention of it can make them snap to attention and double-check their preparations, like emergency teams bracing for a massive hurricane. While big-eyed baby cats are irresistibly cute, thousands of them can roll in all at once, making kitten season the most challenging time of the year in shelters around the country.

In most places across America, animals mate and give birth in spring. This phenomenon can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as longer days, better weather and more access to food, which means higher survival rates for the offspring of many species. Unlike other animals, though, cats can keep on reproducing, having litter after litter right up until the weather turns cold again. In many regions, kitten season can last from spring until early winter.


Sure, newborn felines are ridiculously adorable, with their sweet little faces, jellybean toes and tiny folded ears. It may sound like a dream come true to be swimming in kittens, but while the pitter-patter of a few furry paws is manageable, a downpour of kittens can quickly become a life-threatening flood.

However, sometimes it takes a storm ― the literal kind and the metaphorical kind — to bring out the best in people. The significant challenges posed by torrents of kittens have inspired both the creation of heroic new collaborative programs that are helping to save more lives than ever and preventive efforts to stem the tide. Even better news: If you’ve got five minutes to spare, you too can become a hero this kitten season. 


One reason for this massive influx in shelter intake of kittens is that well-meaning people often scoop up litters of kittens that they find outdoors and rush them to shelters, wrongly assuming that will save their lives.

Unfortunately, these good intentions may actually put kittens in greater danger of being killed. What many people don’t realize is that the safest plan for the kittens ― and one that also decreases the burden on shelters ― is to leave the kittens where they are, keep an eye out for the mother cat’s return to make sure she’s caring for her babies and, once they’re old enough, humanely catch the family for spay/neuter surgery.

With their fragile immune systems and labor-intensive care and socialization needs, kittens are, tragically, the most vulnerable of all shelter residents. Kittens under four weeks old cannot eat on their own and they also need to be manually stimulated to urinate and defecate, which requires hands-on care every two to four hours. And when there are more kittens than hands to go around? Well, you see the dilemma.


Everyone reading this can become a hero this kitten season, no matter what your age, ability or resources are. In fact, it can take as little as five minutes to help save lives. You can foster a litter of kittens with your neighbors, donate old towels and blankets to your local shelter, or share a post on social media from a group that’s looking for volunteers or adopters.

This article appeared in Best Friends magazine. By CIMERON MORRISSEY May 23, 2018


Think how many lives could be saved if kitten season could be stopped from happening, or at least slowed down. In fact, there’s a simple, effective solution — spay/neuter. We are excited to launch our new initiative; The Quirky Cat Project. This initiative provides free spay/neuter for outdoor, barn, and feral cats in the City of Waterloo and the Town of Ixonia where overpopulation of cats has become a growing problem. To learn more about this project or to donate to keep this initiative running, click here.

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We are always in need of more kitten fosters. Whether you're a veteran foster home or you'd like to help for the first time, we are grateful to those who are willing to help!

Learn more



Would you like to help but can't commit to fostering? We are always in need of crutial items to help take care of tiny kittens.

Many items we are in crucial need for include:
-Miracle Nipples
-Canned kitten pate (must be specifically for kittens)
-Dry kitten food
-Scales (for checking weight of kittens)

View our wishlist

needed supplies for kitten season
Found Kittens - Kitten Season Flyer