Animal Update: What Is Kitten Season?

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – More and more shelters in the Bay Area are full with kittens due to kitten season. But what exactly is kitten season?

“Cats are a seasonal polyestrous. Seasonal meaning as soon as the daylight hours become longer, their bodies change and they come into estrous, or heat,” said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, co-president of the San Francisco SPCA. “Polyestrous meaning they don’t give up until the daylight changes or they become pregnant. So in addition to that efficient system, they also can have more than one litter a year. So usually around this time of year, we start to see a flood of kittens come into the shelter.”

Animal Update: Why Kittens?

With so many kittens to choose from at shelters, Dr. Scarlett said it often becomes an easy choice for those looking to adopt.

“It’s really easy. It’s the first one that walks up to you usually,” she said. “There’s no way for us to personality test kittens, so generally, people just walk in and are moved by a particular kitten. For older cats, there are ways we can assess their personality and match it with adopters. But really, it’s love at first sight with these guys.”

And if you find an abandoned kitten or litter of kittens? “One thing you can do is keep it. We have tips on our website about how to care for a kitten,” Dr. Scarlett said. “Or you can turn it into the San Francisco SPCA if you live in the city. If you live outside the city, you’ll have to contact your local shelter.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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