The “Good” Word by Dr. Carol Good – Rockford Animal Hospital

*Romance is in the air, for cats too*

Have you ever wondered why you don’t see many kittens less than three months of age this time of year? Well, maybe you have if you wanted to give someone a kitten for a Christmas present a few weeks ago.

The answer to this question starts with the fact that cats are seasonal breeders. In other words, female cats are only capable of becoming pregnant during certain months of the year. Here in West Michigan, those months are December through August. Since a feline pregnancy lasts about 63 days, the last litters of the season are born in October.

Once the season begins again, in mid to late December, female cats are giving birth around Valentine’s Day. Usually, kittens stay with their mother six to eight weeks and then, like dandelions in spring, the signs go up on the side of the road, “Free kitten to good home”.

Why is this important? Because one pair of cats and their offspring can produce thousands of cats in just three years. Now, I love kittens, but there is a serious, over population of cats in most of the USA and truly, there is no such thing as a “free” kitten. They need food, shelter, veterinary care and most of all, a loving human to support them. If no one steps up to do this, their chances of a long and happy life are slim. The fortunate ones get a home, but not all do.

So, the bottom line is this. Have your cats, both the boys and the girls, neutered before they can breed! Take them before six months of age and get this done and you’ll be doing your part to stop cat overpopulation.Kittens

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