Kitten season has arrived and Fairfax County officials say that they need help to handle the massive number of cats in their care.
The cat cages at the shelter are full, and volunteers are also taking care of 100 cats through the county's foster program, the Fairfax County Police Department said on Thursday.
Animal control officials say that the problem is in part due to the warm winter temperatures this year, which makes cats go into heat. During the summer season, many people also bring older cats in to the shelter because of allergies or moving to a new home. The problem also extends to areas outside Fairfax County.
“We have held special adoption events, appealed to our rescue partners and have been recruiting additional foster homes to help these animals have positive outcomes, but we are hearing from shelters and rescues around the region that they are also overwhelmed with the volume of cats and kittens currently being taken in,” Dr. Karen P. Diviney, director of Fairfax County Animal Shelter, said in a press release.
Tips from Fairfax County on how to help:
- If you are thinking about surrendering an adult cat or kittens, consider keeping it for the summer until the volume of cats and kittens entering shelters and rescues slows down.
- Consider finding homes for cats or kittens through alternative reputable means, such as through friends, family, neighbors or coworkers.
- If you see a stray cat, leave it in place so that it can potentially find its way home.
- Leave kittens in place with their mother, especially if they are too young to eat on their own.
- If you must intervene with kittens, offer to help the shelter by providing in-home foster care in your home until the kittens are 8 - 10 weeks of age.
- Spay or neuter all tame cats you currently own.
- If you have a cat who is pregnant, keep the mother and babies until the kittens are 8 - 10 weeks of age to help the shelter conserve foster homes for kittens who otherwise have no place to go. Keep the mother cat in your home after the kittens are adopted and ask the shelter about its spay program for female cats so no more unwanted kittens are born.
- Get involved with the shelter’s trap, neuter and return program to have outdoor cats spayed or neutered.
For more information about the shelter’s low-cost spay/neuter program, learn more here. To adopt a kitten, visit the shelter at 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax, Virginia 22030.
Sick or injured cats may still be referred by phone to animal control at 703-691-2131.