How To Purrvent Overcrowding Animal Shelters During Kitten Season

Guest post by Kimberly Vermillion, Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL)

As temperatures start to rise in Phoenix, we experience what is known as kitten season. April through October, cats are procreating and shelters see a huge influx in the number of kittens in their care. Many local shelters are overwhelmed and overcrowded. 

The Arizona Animal Welfare League—the oldest and largest no-kill shelter in Arizona—sees approximately 1,200 kittens during these months! You can help purrvent overcrowding and support your local shelters by following AAWL’s advice.

Don’t Kit-Nap

If you find a litter of kittens, the Good Samaritan instinct is to take them to the shelter. However, you could be doing more harm than good. By taking kittens from their resting place, you may be unintentionally separating them from their mother and increasing the stress placed on local shelters.

If you find a litter of kittens, instead of kit-napping, check back in eight hours to see if the mother has returned. If the mother comes back, let her care for her kittens for up to eight weeks and then get the mom and the kittens spayed. If the mother doesn’t come back, you should consider fostering them in your home until they are eight weeks old and ready to find their fur-ever home. Our friends over at Arizona Humane Society make it easy by providing kits to help you care for kittens until that age.

Spay or Neuter Your Cats

Did you know that a cat born in the beginning of kitten season can have their own litter by the end of the season? That’s why it is so important to spay and neuter your cats! 

Foster a Litter

Fostering is not only a great first step for prospective pet parents, but it’s also fun and rewarding. Help from the community always makes a difference and AAWL wouldn’t be where it’s at without the help of amazing volunteers! You can care for cats and kittens in your home while they wait to find their adoptive parents, taking some of the burden off local shelters. Plus, it’s easier than you might think, as AAWL provides foster families with all the resources they need.

Spread the Word

Now that you know how to help local shelters, spread the word. Tell your friends and family about kitten season and the ways they can assist local shelters and limit the stray cat population. 

To learn more about kitten season and what to do if you find a litter of kittens, please visit

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