Cats breed cats.
People sometimes find kittens under their decks or in their sheds and it’s hard to tell who their parents are.
Some undoubtedly come from stray parentage. Others may belong to an indoor/outdoor pet mother who had found a nice nesting spot, went home to eat and became too frightened to return once strangers found her little ones.
The Animal Protection Society (APS) of Durham at 2117 E Club Blvd. provides shelter to every animal picked up by Durham County Animal Services no matter the situation or condition in which the animal is found.
And right now it has too many cats and kittens.
“Cats are more seasonal breeders than dogs,” Executive Director Shafonda Davis said.
“It depends on how warm it is,” she explained. “But this year, we began to see a lot of kittens in April. We will expect to see kittens into September and October.”
Even when females are nursing kittens, they can still go back into heat, Davis said. “That’s why it’s so important to get them spayed or neutered,” she said, “so the cycle doesn’t continue all spring and into the summer.”
In 2016, the Durham County Animal Shelter took in 1,194 cats and730 kittens.
A total of 927 cats were euthanized, or killed by lethal injection. About a third of those were feral, or wild, cats.
Feral cats are often afraid of people and can’t be handled without the risk of a person being bitten or scratched.
So far this year, the APS had taken in 478 cats and 210 kittens.
It costs the APS $350 to $400 to fully treat and prepare a cat for adoption, for which it normally charges $95. The fee covers the cat being spayed/neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, and having a locational chip inserted, Davis said.
But June is “Pick Your Price” month.
For the rest of this month, adopters can take home a cat or kitten – as well as guinea pigs and rabbits – for any price they name.
Keeping fees low
“Our goal is to find animals homes. So, we do what we can to keep that adoption fee much lower for people,” Davis said. “So, it’s actually cheaper to adopt an animal that is fully vetted from us than to go find an animal (somewhere else) and then take them to the vet.”
A kitten without a mother must be nursed with a bottle three times daily and kept warm.
Some lucky kittens brought to the APS find their way into cat foster homes, many times housed by graduate students or other people who are only in the Triangle for a limited period of time and want a cat but cannot commit to fully and permanently adopt one.
Annika Hugosson is a volunteer manager responsible for coordinating the APS’ Foster Program.
“A lot of times people say ‘I wish kittens would just stay kittens.’ Well, we will continuously supply you with kittens at their funnest age,” Hugosson said.
“A lot of times during general orientations to the shelter when I’m walking people through the cat room, people are saying, ‘Awww. Look at the kittens.’ I say, ‘Hey, you want to take some home?’ OK. ‘You got it.’”