Female cats can produce three litters of kittens per year. According to the Oxford Lafayette Humane Society, one female cat and her offspring, when not spayed and neutered, can spawn some 420,000 new cats in seven years. Many of these kittens wind up being offered for adoption in animal shelters.
The Humane Society of the United States says there are 86.4 million cats living in homes in the United States and many more living stray on the streets or in animal shelters. The Oxford Lafayette Humane Society says the average animal in a shelter is less than 18 months old and that less than half of the animals who have been brought into shelters are ever adopted out. The animals who aren't adopted either stay in no-kill shelters or are euthanized when they do not find homes.
Kittens in Shelters
Kittens are young, cute, generally pretty healthy and have traditionally been more likely to find homes than adult cats are. Unfortunately, the odds of being adopted from a kill shelter are relatively slim. Less than half of the animals brought into a kill shelter are adopted back out. The Oxford Lafayette Humane Society produces figures showing that, nationally, only 16 percent of cats in homes came from a shelter.
Three to four million cats and dogs are adopted from shelters across the United States every year. Cats are generally less likely to be adopted then dogs, and adult cats are even less likely to be adopted than kittens. Of pets who are adopted, 20 percent are eventually surrendered back to a shelter.
Protecting Your Kittens
You can protect your kittens from winding up in a shelter by spaying or neutering all of your cats. If you do have a litter of kittens you should attempt to find them good homes. If you have a cat, keeping her inside will help make sure she never winds up unexpectedly pregnant or in a shelter. Placing a collar on your cat or having her microchipped with your information will help her find her way home if she's ever lost.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.