“Kitten season” is a familiar phrase to all who work in animal welfare and rescue. But to adopters, the timing of this busy season can often come as a surprise. People stop by the shelter in December looking for a tiny kitten to put under the tree and are disappointed to discover they may have missed out . . . at least if they had their heart set on a tiny one.

In most parts of the United States kittens are born within a few weeks of tax day in April. They are ready to leave their mothers (if they have them) in June or July. There are so many that most shelters have plenty throughout the summer months. Cats who are not spayed can have another litter in August and those kittens are ready to be adopted in October. So if you are thinking about adopting a kitten this year, it’s a buyer’s market!

While it’s a great time to adopt, kitten season can be a busy and stressful period for shelters and rescues working to care for these furry little balls of joy. So for our rescue partners, here are some tips on housing all the kittens you can until adopters come in:

  • Goats milk can be purchased in many supermarkets if you need to feed babies in a pinch. You can buy a car adapted baby bottle warmer to heat formula on the go.
  • Microwavable disks for buffet dining or stadium seating make excellent warmers for kittens. You can heat up a disk in a 7-11 as soon as you pick the kittens up. As we all know, feeding starving kittens must be done very slowly, and if they are not warm, they can’t eat.
  • Consider taking out personal ads for your kittens. Waiting in front of pet stores for qualified adopters often backfires because people buying pet supplies already have pets. Sometimes libraries and even jewelry stores will let you display pictures of your kittens with adoption information in markets you don’t usually reach.
  • Facebook is a great way to spread the word about adoptable pets, but make sure your photos stand out from the crowded Facebook adoption pages by adding written messages or photoshopping your kitten into an amazing background.
  • Pocket Potholders make nice sleeping bags for newborns. They can be found at dollar stores. Just wash them first to remove any chemical treatments that might irritate sensitive kittens.
  • Soda flats make great disposable litter boxes and most package stores are happy to have you pick them up every week at no charge.
  • To recruit foster homes, try getting a teacher you know to post the opportunity on her school’s share page. Many offices have a free and for sale list between employees or a bulletin board where you can reach a whole new crop of dedicated kitten sitters.

These are just a few tips that can help you whether the stormy kitten season. It can be a busy time for rescues, so if you’re a shelter or rescue worker or volunteer — hang in there! And if you’re looking for a new kitten to add to your household, now is the time! Adopt, adopt, adopt!