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News / Life / Clark County Life

Kitten season ramps up in Clark County including at Vancouver cat shelter Furry Friends

'We’re just at about 150 cats and kittens total. We try to take in as much as we can,' no-kill nonprofit says

By Chrissy Booker, Columbian staff writer
Published: June 21, 2024, 6:02am
5 Photos
A curious kitty spends time in a catio at Furry Friends on Thursday afternoon.
A curious kitty spends time in a catio at Furry Friends on Thursday afternoon. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Animal shelters have a name for this time of year: kitten season. As the weather turns warm, more kittens are born. The chaos has already hit cat shelter Furry Friends.

On Thursday afternoon, Furry Friends’ executive director, Jennifer Hutchman, chased littermates Ophelia and Oakley around a playroom at the Vancouver shelter. The tabbies tugged and swatted at the feathered cat toy Hutchman held above their heads. Two other cats were asleep in their kennel as they took time to adjust to the new environment.

With around 89 kittens in foster care, Hutchman said a season that used to last a couple of months now feels like it’s stretched year-round.

Most of the kittens that enter Furry Friends’ shelter are born from stray cats. Hutchman believes the halt on spay and neuter services during COVID-19 led to the increase.


Furry Friends

Contact: information@furryfriendswa.org.

To adopt or foster a pet, visit: furryfriendswa.org.

Furry Friends also partners with PetSmart in east Vancouver, 130 S.E. 192nd Ave., to host adoption events from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.

West Columbia Gorge Humane Society

Address: 2675 Index St., Washougal.

Phone: 360-835-3464.

To adopt or foster a pet, visit: wcghs.org/adopt/.

Humane Society for Southwest Washington

The Humane Society is waiving adoption fees for all pets from June 28-30 with its Summer of Love adoption promotion.

Address: 1100 N.E. 192nd Ave., Vancouver

Phone: 360-693-4746.

To adopt or foster a pet, visit: southwesthumane.org/adopt.

Second ChanceCompanions

Phone: 360-687-4569.

To adopt or foster a pet, visit: sccpets.com/adopt/.

“As soon as one gets adopted, we bring another one in,” Hutchman said. “We’re just at about 150 cats and kittens total. We try to take in as much as we can. We have a really strong volunteer base, and everyone is willing to help out.”

Kitten season usually coincides with the warmer months, as more cats venture outside and find mates, Hutchman said. Most animals mate and give birth in spring due to a variety of factors, including longer days, better weather and more access to food.

But cats can keep reproducing. In many places across the country, kitten season can last from spring until early winter.

Once kittens are brought into the shelter, they’re spayed or neutered, checked for disease and vaccinated. Kittens will usually be placed in a foster home for a couple of weeks before coming back to the shelter for follow-up appointments.

“The hope is that they’re adopted after everything,” Hutchman said.

This month alone, 80 kittens have been adopted through Furry Friends. Hutchman said she expects to end the year with around 600 adoptions.

Hutchman said the process of getting a cat or kitten adjusted to a new home is important for a new adoptive or foster parent. The shelter offers online resources to help with that acclimation process for a smooth transition.

“I feel like that’s what sets us apart from some of the other rescues: Our foster base is so strong,” Hutchman said. “We try not to put up too many barriers. We’re really here for after adoption, too.”

Furry Friends was founded in 1999 and is a nonprofit no-kill cat shelter serving Clark County. The shelter rescues and adopts out homeless, relinquished and abused cats.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.