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Hey Southern Kill Shelters: Are You Swimming in Kittens? Please Send Them Up North!

Northern cat shelters have kitten waiting lists. Southern ones have a surplus. Here's my plan.

Dorian Wagner  |  Mar 22nd 2013

Here’s a hard truth I learned recently: Shelters in Florida, where I live, kill kittens for space, yet rescues in the North actually have waiting lists for them.

Waiting lists for kittens? You’re telling me that you have a list of people wanting to adopt a kitten (any kitten, any color, any gender!) — while down here, we can’t find homes for all the ones we have, so much so that they end up on death row?

I was floored to learn this. Maybe I already knew it, but I never processed the reality. We almost always have adorable, adoptable kittens here in the South -ÔÇô but in the North, where it gets frigid cold and the cats don’t feel like getting frisky any more than the people do in that weather, they have none. Zero, zip, zilch.

You want kittens? We have kittens. Now let’s connect the dots and save some lives!

It’s not a new idea, but one that I wish were used more widely. Why not transport the unwanted kittens from the states in the South (think Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) up north, where people would love to have them!

Kitten season is right around the corner (it’s basically already here in Florida), so we have to act fast. We have perfect kittens who will be ready for adoption almost right away, while the future babies up north will still need a few months to go big and strong before they can leave their moms and go home.

The way I figure, we can get a huge number of kittens out of the South and to the North before its kitten season is in full swing ÔÇô- and save a bunch that way. Get a bunch of adoptable kittens up there now, and they’ll all be adopted before their own kitten season’s babies are ready to go!

I’ve been doing exactly this in the past couple of months, and I hope to find more rescue contacts to do it on a larger scale. I have friends at rescues all over, but two in particular have been amazing. Forever Home Feline Ranch in Springfield, Ill., has taken in two carloads, and HART of Maine in Cumberland is getting the next bunch of kittens from Florida in a couple of weeks. I work with my local rescues to bust the little ones out of animal control here, then get them ready to travel and send them off!

Most of the kittens already have adopters lined up (without even meeting the kittens!) before the babies even get there. It’s amazing! These are all kittens who would probably have died in our shelters because there simply isn’t enough demand down here to take them all in.

So let’s shuffle kittens to save lives. If you’re a part of a rescue with a waiting list for kittens (I know you’re out there!), please contact a shelter down South and see how you can help. Many are on Facebook, sharing posts desperately every day to find their cats and kittens homes. They don’t want to kill them, so let’s make it so they don’t have to!

When you call a shelter, ask about the rescues they work with. It’s usually not a big task to get the cats tested and vetted, and then it’s just a matter of transport. This can be the trickiest part. Head back to Facebook to find people willing to help. You’d be surprised how far someone might be willing to drive to save a life.

I have organized more than a few transports thanks to the readers of my blog, Your Daily Cute, and there are other transport groups on Facebook willing to help, too. There are always cats and kittens — the key is finding rescues to take them in!

What do you say we clear out the South’s shelters and save them all before kitten season hits for real? We’d be saving future lives because of it, and saving the lives of the ones we shuffle right away. It might take a little work and coordination, but it’s worth it to save lives, right?

I have no idea what I’m getting myself into here (hopefully a lot!), but feel free to contact me if you’re a rescue who is interested. Or contact a shelter down here directly!

And if it’s too late to do it for this year, let’s remember this next year — when the snow is plentiful and the kittens are not.

Thanks for helping save lives! You can find me on Twitter, at, and my blog’s Facebook page. You can also talk to me in the comments section below.

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