By now, responsible cat lovers know spaying and neutering our kitties is the No. 1 way to reduce cat overpopulation. When I was growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, there wasn’t much talk about that sort of thing. In fact, my mother thought it was a gift to be able to experience the magic of birth. I witnessed the birth of several kitten litters and even one litter of puppies. I’m not gonna lie; it was an amazing and unforgettable experience.
My kids have never seen a live kitten birth or spent a lot of time around baby kitties. Even though we make more informed decisions with regard to altering our pets, one thing certainly hasn’t changed: kids love baby kitties. Guess what? There are ways we and our kids can get that sugary sweet kitten fix without contributing to the whole overpopulation kitten caboodle. Here are five ways:
1. Become a foster family
Fostering a cat or kittens can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for the entire family. Many shelters are often looking for fosterers to take care of a mother cat and her litter of kittens until the babies are weaned and everyone is ready to find forever homes.
Before making the decision to foster, it’s critical to consider your family’s lifestyle and schedule. This includes the age and maturity level of the children in the home. Cats — and especially kittens — require attention and socialization. Reputable shelters offer screening processes to make sure you are a good fit for their fostering program.
2. Volunteer at a local shelter
Many shelters offer programs that allow younger children to volunteer alongside their parent or another responsible adult. I know the shelter in my area does, and once a child is 16 years old, they can go through an orientation and volunteer on their own. There are usually kittens year-round at most shelters and they need socialization and care. Check your local animal shelters for their volunteer guidelines. Even if they don’t allow children of a certain age to volunteer directly with the animals, you can always help by collecting and bringing supplies to the shelter.
3. Help maintain a feral colony
I know quite a few people who help feed and care for a colony of feral cats and kittens who live in their area. This can involve TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) and medical care efforts as well as the day-to-day feeding. Involving your kids in the care of feral cats is a great way to demonstrate responsibility toward and respect for cats. Wondering how to get started? If your local shelter isn’t able to offer assistance, the Humane Society of the United States has a great resource.
4. Watch kitten videos
As you and I both know, there’s no shortage of cat videos on the web. In fact, I once heard the Internet is made of cats. My kids are teenagers and we still sit around for sometimes a whole hour and go gaga over adorable and hilarious cat vids. And if you want to share the magic of kitten birth with your children, you can even search for educational videos.
5. Look at kitten pics
Like cat videos, cat and kitten pics are plentiful on the Web. Last week I posted a list of some excellent clean sites that you can feel comfortable perusing with your kids. I know it’s not the same as holding a little fluff ball in your hands, but it does a pretty phenomenal job at causing us to release some ridiculous endorphins! Who doesn’t love looking at adorable kitten photos? If there are any people like that, I sure don’t want to meet them.
Do you have tips for getting a kitten fix? Tell us about it in the comments!
About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (birthed right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in a comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.
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