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Warm weather has cats multiplying
The lack of snow has had some far-reaching effects, including in the animal kingdom. And for some, this is just the beginning. Tamara Lindstrom tells us how animal shelters are already feeling the heat.
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TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. -- Spring fever strikes early for frisky felines this year.
"Cats were being triggered into heat earlier due to the warm temperatures," said Jim Bouderau, Executive Director of the Tompkins County SPCA. "A lot of times, people will take their pets in during the winter because of the harsh temperatures. But we've been seeing so many cats that are either in heat or already pregnant much earlier this year than in years past."
A couple of weeks ago, the Tompkins County SPCA was virtually empty. But now, it's crawling with kittens, an adorable face to a serious problem.
"We had a family call who have about 35 cats and kittens that they want to surrender to the shelter, mostly due to unexpected pregnancies by their outdoor cats much earlier in the season than they would have liked to have see," Bouderau said. "And we also got another call from a family who has 13 to surrender as well."
Last year, the shelter took in 1,500 cats, but is expecting far more this season. A kitten proliferation that can be costly to non-profit shelters.
"They might enter the shelter with other medical conditions that need treatment in advance of the spay and neuter surgery itself," Bouderau said.
Already at 15,000 in Tompkins County, the feral cat population is expected to boom as well. But the SPCA is ready to help with a trap, neuter and release program.
"Populations in those colonies tend to be very stable," Bouderau said. "So just removing them doesn't solve the issue, you actually have to have a stable cat population or new populations on ferals will move in."
Barn homes can be found for wild cats you don't want back. But it's important for all roaming cats to get spayed or neutered before the multiplying kittens become too much to handle.
The SPCA has low and no-cost services for families in need. They are also looking for foster families for kittens.
For more on the programs, visit www.spcaonline.com.