- Associated Press - Friday, May 26, 2017

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) - Spring is in the air - the flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and the kittens are mewing.

You heard that right - kitten season is in full swing and local shelters are flooded with tiny fur babies.

“Oh, yes,” said Mary Gauden, vice president of the Humane Society of Bay County’s Board of Directors. “Every spring we go through a very large influx of kittens.”

The Humane Society has about two dozen kittens up on their website ready for adoptions. They’re all about 2 months old, which is just old enough to be separated from mom and be on their own, Gauden said. Though Bay County Animal Control only had three kittens available for adoption on Monday, a worker said they had just received another 10 kittens that morning. And on Craigslist, there are dozens of postings for free kittens all across the county.

“Springtime is kitten season,” Gauden said.

Many of the kittens turned over come from the large population of feral cats roaming the county. Gauden advises anyone who sees their neighborhood cat with a litter to avoid separating the mother kittens until they are at least 8 weeks old. Once they’re old enough, there are several organizations that will take the kittens, including the Humane Society, Bay County Animal Control and Castaway Cats, and Gauden said they will work with people to help find the kittens a good home.

And while kittens are undeniably adorable, cats are prolific breeders and it won’t take long before one cat becomes four, then eight, then 20, as cats can produce a litter of between four and seven kittens every four months. Gauden said there are several groups, including Operation Spay Bay, which can provide traps for feral cats and will sterilize them at a reduced cost.

But for the kittens who make it to a shelter, their ending is usually a happy one, Gauden said. Though the Humane Society does have to shoulder extra costs during kitten season for food, litter and medication, it’s worth it to see families come in and fawn over the little bundles of fur.

“It’s always a fun time to see it,” Gauden said.

Even if they come in as feral, Gauden said they’ve had great success, especially with younger kittens, in socializing them with other cats and getting them used to the domestic life. They make great pets and are a special addition to any family.

“It’s really a great way to adopt an animal,” she said. “That animal grows with you and your family and it creates quite the bond.”


Information from: The (Panama City, Fla.) News Herald, https://www.newsherald.com

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