There are a few reasons that kitten season occurs.
First, many pet owners doesn’t understand the importance of spaying and neutering their own pets. Their cat may accidently escape, or may be an indoor/outdoor cat and could end up getting pregnant while they are out or getting another cat pregnant.
Second, there are millions of feral cats in the United States that live outside and aren’t spayed/neutered, which in result contributes to the breeding problem. Here at Harbor, our Return to Field (RTF) program helps to combat the overpopulation in the feral cat community.
RTF is a concept that’s been heavily studied and proven successful in communities across the country. In short, return to field means that when a stray/feral cat is found in the community, the finder can bring that cat to the shelter, the shelter will spay or neuter the cat (after determining it is in fact not an owned cat), and that animal will be returned to the place it was picked up (the “field”) after surgery. During surgery, the cat is also ear tipped, microchipped, vaccinated, and given dewormer.
RTF initiatives reduce the community cat population because sterilized cats (meaning spayed or neutered) will defend their territory from new cats roaming in and reproducing, halting the cycle of unwanted pet overpopulation. This policy of managing community cats through sterilization is endorsed by The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society and many other leading national animal welfare organizations.
Other program and initiatives include our newest program, our Baby Mama Feline Friends Program which helps keep mama and kittens together until they are old enough to thrive on their own!