Kittens are easy to love. They are cute and fun to play with. But many, especially in the spring and summer months, won’t find homes because of an overabundance caused by a failure to spay and neuter.
Each April, the number of kittens entering the Humane Society of Nelson County and shelters across the nation begins to steadily climb. The numbers peak in July and taper off in late fall.
Each year, the Bardstown shelter receives between 900 and 1,000 kittens. Less than 1 in 6 of those will be adopted into a good home, according to information provided by shelter director Judy Cooke.
The only effective solution is prevention of the births. In animal welfare circles, there is a well-known saying, “You can’t adopt your way out of this problem,” according to Cooke. There are only so many homes, and there will never be enough unless the birth rate of unwanted kittens is dramatically decreased.
Because cats as young as 5 months of age can become pregnant, the most effective way to prevent an overpopulation of cats is to have them spayed or neutered.
The Humane Society has a weekly spay/neuter clinic. Although the Humane Society does not turn anyone away for inability to pay, they ask that if people are able, they contribute $30 for females and $20 for males.
The Humane Society will also spay or neuter feral (wild) cats, which are the source of hundreds of unwanted kittens. The Humane Society asks that those who plan to bring a feral cat in for spay/neuter call first so they can advise on trapping and schedule the appointment.
All surgeries are performed by appointment. Call 349-2082 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Cats must be at least 3 months old and weigh at least 3 pounds.
Routine vaccinations and other health care that local veterinarians can provide are not offered to the public by the Humane Society.
The Humane Society of Nelson County has adoption specials on cats and kittens in order to help as many as possible find good homes.
The usual fee for a cat or kitten is $60, which includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, de-worming, flea and ear mite treatment and a microchip. This summer two kittens can be adopted into the same home for $80. The Humane Society especially likes to see siblings and cage buddies kept together, according to Cooke. Older cats are often overlooked when so many lively kittens are available. To help encourage cat adoption the fee will be $40 for adult cats.
Those adopting a pet must be 18 years or older and have an approved adoption application.
The Humane Society also has a “barn cat/mouser” program, through which it places selected cats. The cats generally come in as strays or drop-offs, already spayed or neutered, and cannot be housed in the Adoption Cattery. Many are not affectionate and prefer the outdoors. They are not feral and can be handled when necessary. These cats will have valid rabies vaccinations and are offered at reduced fees. These cats will be placed in homes that can offer protected environments, away from highways, where they will have safe shelter and daily cat food and fresh water.