As summer continues, the Humane Society for Southwest Washington urges members of the community to reconsider before bringing stray cats and kittens to its shelter.
For the Humane Society, warmer months coincide with “Kitten Season,” when the number of stray cats and kittens increases significantly. However, many of them may not be in harm’s way.
Keeping healthy stray cats out of shelters increases the chances they return home to their owner or mom.
Vice President of Operations Jennifer Rylander says unless stray kittens are visibly injured, the best scenario is for them to stay where they are.
“The first thing I would ask is that community members not jump in right away,” Rylander said. “Be patient, observe and watch for mom to come back. If it’s been more than 24 hours, I would say those kittens need some assistance. Practicing patience is our biggest request.”
The Humane Society receives anywhere between 15 and 25 kittens every day. Since young kittens require extra care, bringing healthy stray cats into the shelter could make it harder to attend to the ones who need immediate medical care.
The Humane Society says a stray cat is 59 percent more likely to return to its home if it is not brought into a shelter; only 3 percent of cats are reunited with their owner after being brought in.
Rylander says there are certain ways to gauge if a stray cat needs support.
“I would say look for upper respiratory issues. Like people, cats can get colds, too. So, watery and crusty eyes and congested nose means they probably need some assistance,” Rylander said.
Director of Communications and Marketing Sam Ellingson says while the Humane Society can anticipate the summer surge, community members should still exercise caution for the well-being of cats and kittens.
“We’re in this position every summer into the early fall months,” Ellingson said. “So when we talk about leaving stray kittens and cats out in the community, it’s about as long as that cat is safe and healthy where it is, we want them to be left alone.”
The Humane Society has over 200 kittens in foster care and 20 up for adoption at the moment. Starting July 29, the organization will host a foster kitten event for those interested in permanently adopting a kitten.
To learn more
- For information on determining if a stray kitten is in need of assistance, visit hssw.org/straykittens.
- For information about stray cats, visit hssw.org/straycats.
- For information on lost and found pets, visit hssw.org/lost-found.
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