Orange County Animal Services Warns of Impending “Kitten Season”
Shelter Soon to be Flooded with Kittens, Seeks Community Help
Orange County, Fla. – Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) is bracing for what’s known in the sheltering field as “kitten season.” It’s the time of year where cats most frequently breed, leading to an increase in intakes of pregnant cats, nursing litters and fragile, orphaned babies. The shelter has deployed a number of programs to assist these at-risk pets and is encouraging the community to assist in the effort.
“This is the most trying time of year for shelter staff, rescuers and volunteers,” said Diane Summers, manager for Orange County Animal Services. “Some days we receive dozens of kittens and, depending on their individual needs, it’s not always possible to find a caretaker willing and able to take them in. We need all hands on deck in order to match the rate at which these pets are arriving.”
This summer it won’t be uncommon for residents to come across kittens. “While the immediate response may be to run those kittens right into the shelter, we’re asking our residents to hold off and utilize their best judgment,” said Summers. Depending on the situation, it may be best to leave the kittens so their parent can return to care for them, as outlined in this resource here.
For kittens at-risk that do need to come to the shelter for care, Animal Services offers the “Wait Til 8” program which provides basic supplies to finders and encourages them to continue caring for the little ones, if they’re in a position to do so. By providing supplies and equipping finders with information and resources, Animal Services has been able to divert hundreds of kitten impounds.
In situations the finder cannot care for the kittens and they’re in need of placement, Animal Services relies to its robust foster care program. In fiscal year 2022, a total of 1,923 pets were fostered through Orange County Animal Services, which provides all of the necessary supplies and medical care for program participants. Right now, a total of 281 pets are in foster homes through Central Florida under Orange County’s umbrella of care. The shelter has a network of nearly 450 foster parents total and is always seeking to grow that number.
“One of the ways we measure our success as a shelter is through our live release rate, which comprises the percentage of pets achieving placement with either adopters, rescue groups or through owner reclaims,” said Summers. “We’ve made tremendous progress with our cat live release rate, from just 25% in 2012 to 88% in 2022. Our goal is to surpass the 90% milestone and we can’t do that without our community. We ask everyone to keep an eye out for little ones in need this summer and to step up and help in whatever fashion is possible – whether that be fostering, adopting or even just sharing the word.”