Categories: Cat News

The ‘new normal’ caused by COVID-19 may make this the worst kitten season ever for feral cats

With the complications of our ‘new normal’ created by countries and states going into strict quarantine due to COVID-19, many who care for feral cats are worried. One issue is whether a colony caregiver can physically even get to the cats who depend on them. Another is whether caregivers can remain virus-free and alive. Now picture no more TNR services.

How long will TNR clinics remain closed? (Humane Society Greenwood in 2017)

Today I’d like to introduce another MAJOR problem that in the end has the potential to make 2020 the worst ‘kitten season’ ever on record. The worst because the way veterinarians are having to run their practice and this includes trap-neuter-return clinics. All except emergency surgeries are being postponed and the majority of TNR clinics have sent caregivers a notice that they can no longer spay and neuter feral cats for the foreseeable future.

My personal veterinarian sent out an email last week stating that all pet owners would have to call ahead and the veterinarian will come out to the vehicle to perform basic exams and treatment. Should the pet need more thorough care, the cat or dog will be taken inside while the owner waits in the car.

Vet clinics are trying to do their part by donating as many masks as possible to the hospitals that need every mask they can get their hands on. There’s also the ‘social distancing’ way of life that has emerged as our new norm. Some veterinarians now have stated only one person on the staff can be in an exam room. Medications are refilled and taken to the owner’s car and payments made by phone.

This not only knocks feral cats out of the opportunity to be spayed or neutered, it may also affect pet owners who have a less than friendly cat that will most likely panic when their person isn’t allowed inside. So this may also hinder normally tame cats from getting treatment.

Unfortunately, this won’t work with feral cats. Unneutered male cats stink to high heaven even when they’re NOT spraying everything they touch and females may ‘call’ at all hours of the day or night. It’s not like these cats can be kept inside until things go back to normal. Because normal is gone.

I don’t know how to fix this. We’re in for the worst kitten season on record. It’s terrifying when you start doing the math and what will happen when the mid-year litter normally delivered by a feral cat isn’t stopped before it even starts.

Many open intake shelters have closed until they deem it safe for the public to come in and once again adopt a pet. Shelter staff is reaching out to those who must remain at home for weeks (to months) about fostering a dog or a cat. Newborn kittens, even with a mother cat to help, would put too much of a burden on cat lovers who are already stressed.

If shelters aren’t accepting mama cats or kittens, there are going to be a lot of abandoned cats, either pregnant or with kittens. Not to mention those who die during delivery or from hunger, thirst, animals and automobiles.

Anyone with suggestions or who would like to describe veterinary care restrictions in your area, please do so in the comment section below.

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts

Fed on cat food and “caged” for 26 years, attractive 42-year-old woman looks young for her age

Nadezhda Bushueva's mother, Tatyana (a pensioner), forced her daughter to live off cat food while she caged her at her…

4 hours ago

Domestic cats: relationship versus ownership

The quality of a person's cat caretaking depends upon whether the person regards themselves as an owner of cats or…

10 hours ago

Women are less likely to swipe right on men with cats – observations

I would like to make some observations about the Colorado State University's study of 708 straight women aged between 18-24…

13 hours ago

Gentle interactions between toddlers and cats are charming

It is time for a bit of cuteness and charm. This video has both and it is also instructional. I…

14 hours ago

This man needs a taste of his own medicine after he terrifies his cat causing him to pee

This is not hot off the press news (11th March 2020) but it is interesting and sad from a number…

1 day ago

Do cats get frustrated?

I am referring to domestic cats. Two well-known experts on cat behaviour have more or less made presumptions that domestic…

1 day ago