If you’ve never heard the phrase “kitten season,” keep reading. Every year, even in the midst of a global pandemic, kitten season occurs when the weather turns warm. It’s the time when stray, orphaned or abandoned kittens are born and end up flooding area animal shelters and pounds.
Why does this happen? Oftentimes, during warmer months, cats, especially ones that aren’t spayed or neutered, are more likely to roam. And sadly, a female cat that is not spayed can produce thousands of kittens over her lifetime.
The Franklin County Humane Society, a no-kill shelter funded by donations, and the Franklin County Animal Shelter, the county-owned pound, are all too familiar with kitten season. Every year, the shelters are inundated with unwanted litters, sometimes little ones who are only a few days old, and this year has been no exception.
Since their immune systems aren’t fully developed, kittens are more susceptible to illness, especially in a shelter environment. Oftentimes, it’s up to volunteers to keep and care for the kittens until they’re old enough to be vaccinated. Unfortunately, there usually are more kittens than there are foster families.
The first step to helping prevent unwanted cats and kittens from landing in shelters is to spay/neuter them. This not only will prevent them from reproducing and roaming, but also help ensure that they live healthier lives as spaying/neutering can reduce the risk of cats getting certain types of cancer.
Kittens can be spayed as young as 4 months old, according to Franklin County Humane Society.
The humane society’s Planned Pethood Clinic, which opened in July 2000 in Boones Mill, has evolved from being a low-cost spay/neuter clinic to a basic animal care vet. Each year, the clinic performs more than 3,000 spay/neuter surgeries each year, and is targeted to reach 65,000 total surgeries this year, according to humane society president Donna Essig.
If you’re pets aren’t spayed or neutered, do them a favor and get them fixed. If you can’t afford the cost of the surgery, contact the animal shelter for a voucher. Your pets are likely to live longer, and you’ll be helping to control the pet population. And if you want to try fostering, reach out to the humane society to sign up.
Officials cut ribbon on new animal shelter
After eight years of setbacks, the Franklin County Animal Shelter has a new building on State Street in Rocky Mount. At 6,000 square feet, the county-operated shelter is three times larger than the one that it used to operate on U.S. 220 near the county’s landfill.
“It’s been a long time coming, but I knew it would happen; I just didn’t know when,” said Animal Control Manager Cindy Brooks during a ribbon cutting ceremony last Tuesday.
The new $1.4-million facility is an inviting and welcoming space, with adorable paw prints on the floors and bright, colorful artwork on the walls.
The shelter is open Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the address is 81 State St., Rocky Mount.