Kitten season brings overabundance of cats

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

There is an over abundance of cats and kittens in the area and the Dubois County Humane Society is currently at its capacity for handling them.

“At this point, we have in our care and foster (care) five liters,” said Kelly Eckerle, shelter manager for the humane society. “And those numbers are likely to grow in the coming weeks.”

This time of the year is what Eckerle and others call kitten season.

“Whenever the warm weather first starts to warm up in the springtime, cats start mating,” she said. “There's an explosion of litters.”

The space the humane society has for cats is full right now, and there are more felines waiting to come in. Having kittens with foster caregivers is especially important now. “Because we end up with tons and tons of litters this time a year, we rely heavily on our fosters,” Eckerle said, “because the shelter isn't really a great place for little babies.”

Soon, the center will have more space for cats, as remodeling work is set to be completed this month. That will provide more room for the additional cat kennels that will arrive at the end of this month. The community helped the humane society raise money to renovate the former puppy room into space for cats and cat kennels. The next phase of improvements will include space for dogs and puppies in an extension that is due to be built on the east side of the humane society’s building.

“We hope that that is going to provide us a lot of relief, and a lot of relief for the community as well,” Eckerle said.

But having foster caregivers to take in extra animals is still vital, Eckerle explained. “How much or how little we can help totally depends on how many fosters we have on deck, especially during kitten season,” she said. “We definitely do reach a point where we run out of resources. But if we have continued fosters signing up, that really helps.”

Fostering is a good way for a person to determine if he or she would like to own a pet. “If you think maybe you want to adopt but aren't really ready to make the full commitment, fostering is a really great alternative to that,” Eckerle said, “to see if (adoption is) something you really want to do.”

The humane society has on its website a form to fill out for those who would like to become a foster under the “foster” tab. The form asks various questions, such as if you are interested in fostering dogs or cats, where you live and how many people are in your home. “And then from there, if everything looks good on our end, we will reach out to you,” Eckerle said. “So first step is get that application in, and then we will get moving on it.”

To help with controlling the cat population, and the pet population, the society strongly recommends spaying and neutering pets.

“This boom and kitten season is a direct result of the stray problem we have in this area,” Eckerle said. “If you have an outside animal — cat, dog, whatever — I cannot emphasize how important it is to have your pet spayed and neutered. You may think that they stay close. But the reality is that they're probably contributing to unwanted litters.”

There are several options for getting spay and neuter services. A traveling veterinarian service called Public Vet comes to the Dubois County 4-H Fairgrounds to conduct same-day spay and neuter services. The next event will be for cats, on Monday, June 28.

The humane society also has a voucher program, through which it receives a limited number of discount vouchers for spay and neuter services with local veterinarians. Those are dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis and are given to those who have set appointments with a vet; they cannot be reserved.

“If you were to call one of the clinics in Jasper and set up an appointment for spay or neuter, you can then call us and request a voucher,” Eckerle said. “They are a wonderful resource that we have to offer to folks that I don't know that too many people know is even there.”

People can always give donations to help the humane society. An easy way to do so is to purchase items on the society’s Amazon wish list.

“We do have that populated with the items that we need currently,” Eckerle said. “You can pull up that wish list; it’s been posted pretty recently on our Facebook page. And then you can just buy things online and have it delivered right to us. So that is minimal effort for donors and it really gets us exactly what we're needing.”

Those with questions, those looking for additional information on fostering or those looking for information on assisting the Dubois County Humane Society can visit the agency’s Facebook page or website, www.duboiscountyhumane.org., or call 812-482-PETS (7387).




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