Finding a shelter or rescue group to take unwanted litters of kittens and adult cats can be very difficult, especially during kitten season, which is a very long season, due to our warm weather in the Valley. Many people resort to giving away free kittens to anyone who will take them, and they feel that they have done a good thing. However, this is not a safe or responsible way to place kittens. Many free cats and kittens are given to people who will never get them altered, thereby continuing the cycle of unwanted litters. Or worse, they go to someone who will abuse or abandon them.
There is a good reason why rescue groups screen potential adopters very carefully, and charge an adoption fee.
A responsible rescue group will test cats for feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), spay/neuter and vaccinate the cats and kittens before they go for adoption. In addition, they will be treated for intestinal parasites (worms), fleas, ear mites and other issues and given a microchip. The cost for all of these services at your local animal hospital or spay neuter clinic would be much more than the cost of an adoption fee from a local rescue.
Below is a list of local rescue groups in Arizona. Most operate with the help of volunteers who also work day jobs. You may have to leave a message and wait for a return call. A rescue group may ask you if you can foster for a while until they have space available to help you. Fostering can be a wonderful experience and it's a very worthy cause. If all else fails, you can surrender them to the Humane Society where they will at least have a chance for adoption and will be sure to get spayed or neutered before going to their new home.
People making an emotional decision to take home a cute kitten that someone is giving away outside of a grocery store parking lot, may not be someone who is going to commit to giving the kitten a forever home and give it the medical attention that it needs, including spaying or neutering. If you find a litter of kittens or an adult stray, please make an informed decision before handing them over to someone you don't know. Below are some downloadable docs that illustrate some of the unfortunate fates of "free kittens."
The Cat Who Had 20 Litters.........
I was driving home from work one day and saw a sign that read "Kittens for Sale." Feeling tired and anxious to get home, I tried to tell myself, "Just keep driving.....Go home!!" But I found myself making a U-turn to go back and write down the phone number. When I got home, I called and asked why they had kittens for sale and where they came from. The guy said, "My cat just keeps having kittens all the time!" I asked him why he didn't get her spayed, and this is where the story gets interesting........ He told me that he tried to get her spayed, but she "died" at the clinic. I found out that they actually did take this cat to a spay neuter clinic to get her spayed 7 years prior to this litter. The cat stopped breathing after being given anesthesia, the doctor revived her, called the couple and told them that he "could not spay her" and that they would need to take her to a full-service veterinarian hospital. So the cat went home that day, unaltered. They made a few phone calls and all of the hospitals quoted them around $300 to have blood work done, and then spay the cat. Since they couldn't afford that, the cat just kept having litters. They estimated that she had around 20 litters of kittens! I would not have believed the story except that they showed me the paperwork from the clinic, which showed that she was allergic to the pre-anesthetic drug that was given to her. I helped the couple to obtain a voucher (free spay/neuter for low income residents in Maricopa County) for their cat and I picked her up and took her to a participating veterinarian hospital for them. I showed the doctor the paperwork from the other clinic, that stated the name of the drug that she is allergic to. The doctor said he would simply use a different drug and he spayed her with no problem at all. (It was not apparent, but we found out later that she was expecting litter # 21 when she was spayed.) It only cost the owners $12, and that was for the cat's pain medication.
So the moral of the story......… don't be afraid to take the time to nicely confront someone and ask them why their cat (or dog) is not spayed. There are low cost and even free spay neuter options available to people. In this case the couple was very, very grateful and even called me a "cat angel." Yes, there was a possibility that the person I called was going to get angry and hang up on me, but I had to move past my comfort zone and be willing to take that chance. In this case it was a happy ending for everyone........ especially the cat who had 20 litters!
Two Kittens are Better than One!
Kittens love to play and have unlimited energy. It is much more fun for them to have another kitten companion to play with, not to mention how much more amusing they are in pairs. A kitten who has a littermate or other kitten to play with, will not be so demanding of your attention. Download the file below to learn about the many reasons why two kittens are better than one!