22 September 2020

You might have heard the term “kitten season”, but what does this mean?

Kitten season refers to the warmer months of the year, generally from spring to late summer, when cats reach their reproductive prime.

Cats can start breeding from as young as 16 weeks, and they get pregnant easily. With so many owned and unowned fertile cats roaming in the community, the result is an influx of unwanted kittens, which in turn puts a strain on animal rescue groups.

RSPCA Inspectors are regularly called out to rescue litters from roof or wall spaces, where a stray cat has sought shelter to give birth. And in past kitten seasons, we’ve seen newborn litters dumped in parks and bushland.

Why should I sterilise my cat?

One of the key benefits of desexing is preventing unwanted kittens, but did you know it can also help keep your feline friend healthy? Desexed cats are less likely to get mammary cancer, and will not get uterine infections. And, research shows desexed animals can actually live longer. The law (the Cat Act 2011) states all cats over six months must be sterilised, microchipped and registered with your local council.

What should I do if I find kittens?

It’s so important to keep litters with their mum wherever possible, to give them the best chance of survival. If you come across a litter of kittens, check they’re safe, warm and healthy-looking, then wait to see if their mum returns. If she does, contact your council for advice on bringing them in together. If the kittens are sick or injured, contact RSPCA, another reputable rescue group, or your local vet for help. Remember, young kittens need special care, including bottle feeding with formula, so please don’t try to care for them yourself or give them cow’s milk.

How can I help?

Rescue groups are often in need of extra hands to help care for pregnant cats and kittens during this busy season. If you’re retired or work from home, you might consider fostering orphaned neonatal kittens. This is a big job, so help in this area is really appreciated. RSPCA WA will provide everything you need, such as food, medication and kitty litter. To find out more, visit www.rspcawa.asn.au/get-involved/foster/