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Idaho Falls Animal Shelters deal with “Kitten Season”

The Idaho Falls area is home to many feral and outdoor cats, and every year local shelters deal with litters of young kittens who need homes.

They call it “kitten season."

Michelle Ziel-Dingman from the Snake River Animal Shelter said, “We have taken in somewhere between 90 and 100 kittens, this kitten season thus far, and we are actively seeking both foster homes and also adopters who are looking to bring a kitten home today. Most of the kittens that we have in the facility are from accidental litters that occurred from either an outdoor cat that was unfixed or a cat that arrived on someone's property, had a litter of kittens, and then abandoned them. “

Julie Szilard works at the Idaho Falls Animal shelter and has been taking care of a two-week-old kitten unnamed “Proton” who lost his mom after she was hit by a car. 

Proton is so little he cannot take care of himself. Every two hours Julie has to feed him, and help him go to the bathroom.

Each year the shelter sees hundreds of kittens. According to Szilard 75% of kittens born outside, and not brought in will die. 

She also said feral cats can have a huge impact on the environment. They kill birds, leave feces which is a biohazard, and can get hit by cars.

“They face the risk of getting hit by a car, attacked by dogs, killed by humans that don't want them around, getting picked up and dumped by humans that don't want them around. We get a call at least weekly about someone wanting to get rid of a cat that's hanging around their house.” Szilard says.

The Idaho Falls Animal Shelter is currently housing a feral kitten. He was young enough that he can still be socialized, and find a forever home. But if no one takes a chance on him, he will have to return to the wild and live on the streets.

The solution to the kitten problem is “TNR” or trap, neuter, and release. 

“So if you just take the cats and you remove them, then other cats are going to be like, oh, cool bunch of resources here. Move on in. And then those ones are all going to start reproducing. So if we're able to put the fixed ones back, they're still territorial, but they're not going to be scrapping as much and we're going to keep other intact cats moving in,” Szilard said.

“We cannot overstate how important it is to spay and neuter your pets,” Ziel-Dingman said, “particularly if you have an unfixed cat, please look up East Idaho Spay Neuter Coalition on Facebook. Once a month they release vouchers for only $40 to fix your cat. This is the most affordable way to do it. Spay and neutering is very safe and the most cost effective way is to use our voucher program. And let's get those cats fixed so that we don't have so many unwanted litters in our community.”

Article Topic Follows: Pets

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Emma Valentine


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