Too Many Kittens! Cat, KItten Volume High at Fairfax County Animal Shelter

Fairfax County Police Department
Public Information Office
4100 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Va. 22030
703-246-2253. TTY 703-204-2264. Fax 703-246-4253
News Release:/Cat, Kitten Volume
May 31, 2012


Too Many Kittens!
Cat, Kitten Volume High at Fairfax County Animal Shelter


            The Fairfax County Animal Shelter is experiencing an extremely high volume of cats and kittens being brought to the shelter and is asking for the public’s assistance to help save animals’ lives.  Currently, all of the cat cages at the shelter are full and the shelter is leveraging its foster program to house an additional 100 animals outside the facility.

            Often when people see a mother cat run off from her kittens, they will be tempted to bring the young kittens into the shelter. Female cats will usually return to their litter and these kittens have a better chance of survival if raised by their mother. Citizens are encouraged to leave kittens where they are. Adult stray cats should also be left in place to potentially go back to their homes.

            The rapid influx of cats and kittens is the result of several issues including the atypical warm winter temperatures causing more cats to go into heat and become pregnant. More people become aware of the kittens’ existence as the warmer spring and summer temperatures bring people outdoors.

            The huge increase in the volume of kittens entering the shelter is coupled with the increase in volume that the shelter typically sees during the busy summer months as  people surrender their adult cats when they are moving, traveling or develop allergies. Citizens are encouraged to keep a cat they are considering surrendering in the home until the volume of cats and kittens decreases at the shelter or to re-home the cat on their own. This helps provide the animal with a greater opportunity for a positive outcome.

            “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,” says Dr. Karen P. Diviney, director, Fairfax County Animal Shelter. “We are appealing to citizens to help us save the lives of countless cats and kittens this busy summer season. This is one instance where it truly will take a village to help us save more lives.”

            Citizens who are thinking about bringing a cat or kittens to the shelter have several options:

            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, please visit

            Sick or injured cats may still be referred by phone to animal control at 703-691-2131.




To request this information in an alternate format, call the Public Affairs Bureau at 703.246.2253. TTY 703-877-3715

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