BERLIN– Animal welfare groups are urging pet owners to get their cats spayed and neutered as they struggle to find homes for growing numbers of unwanted kittens.
Officials with the Worcester County Humane Society and volunteers with groups like Community Cats Coalition want to stress the importance of spaying and neutering cats this summer as they see more and more homeless kittens.
“There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight,” said Jessica Summers, manager of the Worcester County Humane Society. “The phone keeps ringing.”
According to Summers, the humane society sees an influx of kittens every summer in July, August and September. Last fall, however, kittens were still coming in at Thanksgiving and this spring, kittens started coming in earlier than usual. As of this point, the humane society has already taken in 124 kittens. Summers expects that number to double by the end of the year.
Summers attributes at least part of the increase to COVID-19, as during the height of the pandemic spay and neuter clinics weren’t held. Furthermore, a shortage of veterinarians means it takes longer to get appointments.
As a result, Summers said a lot of the kittens the humane society has taken in this year haven’t been strays but have instead come from homes with female cats that were never spayed. In other cases, the humane society has helped with litters of kittens dropped off at farms and along rural roads.
“It never ceases to amaze me,” she said.
Cognizant of the kitten issue, Susan Coleman, director of Community Cats Coalition, is working to increase local awareness. She wants people to understand the issue and make them aware of the nonprofits in the areas, such as Community Cats Coalition, that are available to help. Community Cats Coalition works with Forgotten Cats of Delaware to spay and neuter felines. According to Coleman, Forgotten Cats, which provides traps and a van to transport cats to a clinic in Philadelphia, has a grant that covers the cost of fixing outside cats. She said there are three clinics a week that spay and neuter 60 to 90 cats per clinic.
“If people don’t know we’re here to help, it’s not going to work,” Coleman said. “The word has to get out.”
Those who want more information should visit www.communitycatscoalition.com or www.forgottencats.org.