Cats in the Community
CATS in the COMMUNITY
Spring and Summer – Kitten Season!
Besides being the time of year when the Shelter sees the highest volume of kittens, spring and summer are when the most people surrender adult cats. Kittens and cats are surrendered when their owners move, are travelling, or develop allergies. This means that the cat cages at the Shelter stay mostly full from April through October.
The Shelter uses a variety of other means to help save cats during the busy spring and summer seasons. In addition to partnering with numerous rescue groups, the Shelter place hundreds of cats and kittens in loving foster homes while they wait to be placed for adoption. During the height of kitten season, the Shelter asks for citizens to help save more Fairfax County cats by following these guidelines:
- If you see a healthy stray cat, leave it in place so it can potentially find its way home. Since there is no law in Fairfax County against free-roaming cats, the Shelter asks residents to leave healthy stray cats where they find them.
- Unless there is an immediate threat, leave kittens in place where their mother can find them, especially if they are too young to eat on their own. If you need to move the kittens, place them nearby where the mother can find them.
- If you must intervene with kittens, offer to help the Shelter by providing in-home foster care until the kittens are 8 – 10 weeks of age.
- If you are thinking about surrendering a cat or kitten, consider keeping it through the summer until the volume of cats and kittens entering shelters and rescues slows down.
- Spay or neuter all tame cats you currently own.
- Get involved with the Shelter’s trap-neuter-release program to have feral cats spayed or neutered.
- If you have a cat that 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 until after all the kittens are adopted and consider spaying the mother cat.
Feral Cats – Working Together to Find Solutions
In 2008, the Fairfax County Animal Shelter started one of the first feral cat trap-neuter-release programs in the region. Since then, over 5,000 feral cats (outdoor cats not socialized to people) have been humanely trapped and spayed and neutered, as well as vaccinated against rabies, ear-tipped, and given basic medical care. Following surgery, feral cats are returned to a managed colony, where they can live out their lives without adding to the homeless cat population. Nearly 500 residents have joined forces with the Shelter to trap, neuter and release feral cats.
Each year since starting this program, the Shelter has seen a marked reduction in the number of unwanted kittens coming in to the Shelter. If you are a colony caretaker and are interested in becoming part of the Fairfax County trap-neuter-release program, please contact us at FCPDPetResources@fairfaxcounty.gov.
Cat and Kitten FAQ
Q: There is a healthy stray cat that keeps coming into my yard. Can I bring it to the shelter?
A: In Fairfax County, there is no law against free-roaming cats. The majority of healthy, free-roaming cats do have a nearby owner. Do not attempt to trap or catch the cat to bring it to the Shelter. If the cat is a nuisance, there are number of harmless cat repellants that are sold at pet stores and home good stores.
Q: Do you have kittens for adoption or just adult cats?
A: The Fairfax County Animal Shelter always has a large variety of adult and juvenile cats for adoption. Young kittens are most available from May through October.
Q: Do the cats you have for adoption have problems? I heard that cats usually get turned over to the shelter because they don’t use a litter box.
A: The vast majority of adult cats that are surrendered to the shelter are given up because their owners move or have had a change in family circumstances. Each person who surrenders a cat or other pet to the Shelter fills out a complete medical and behavior profile so you will know the background of the cat you are adopting.
Q: I have an older cat I can no longer keep. Do you have an age limit on adopting out cats?
A: The Fairfax County Animal Shelter does not have an age limit on cats it will adopt. Cats of all ages, provided they are relatively healthy and friendly, can be adopted from the Shelter. However, older cats are harder to adopt and many sit in the Shelter for several months while waiting to find their new home. Before surrendering your pet to the shelter, please consider all other options.
Q: I was bit by a cat. What do I do?
A: Seek immediate medical attention and call Animal Control at 703-691-2131. The responding officer may confine the animal for a quarantine period or may allow the owner to confine the animal.
Q: I found six kittens that were abandoned by their mother. What should I do?
A: The mother is probably nearby. Unless the kittens are in immediate danger, leave them where you found them so the mother can come back to care for them.
Q: I want to get my cat spayed or neutered but I can’t afford it. Does the shelter spay and neuter owned pets?
A: The Fairfax County Animal Shelter does not provide spay and neuter services at the shelter. Please read about low cost spay and neuter options by visiting http://www.potomacspayneuter.org