Since a female cat can go into heat every three weeks, one cat can give birth at least twice during just one kitten season and up to four times. Each litter can have 2-6 kittens. (Do the math - it adds up to overpopulation.) The resulting litters of unwanted kittens either remain on the streets to fend for themselves or flow by the thousands into shelters and rescues nationwide that are already overburdened by homeless pets.
Once the unwanted kittens and cats end up in the shelter/rescue system, they quickly tap the shelter and rescue resources for just the basic food and housing necessary to care for them. Crowded shelter conditions also cause an increased risk of illness among all of the cats and kittens in turn causing an added burden on shelter staff and veterinary services. Of course the best solution is to spay and neuter your own cat and to encourage everyone you know to do the same, thus preventing the sad result of unwanted kittens. There are many low-cost spay/neuter clinics through the country. (See our "Resources" section.)
How can humans help reduce the cat overpopulation? The Humane Society of the United States offers some suggestions.
o Spay or neuter your own cats - kittens as young as two months and weighing two pounds can be safely altered.
o Help your local rescue or shelter - donate supplies, money or your time. Contact us to find out what’s needed most - email@example.com.
o Care for homeless or wild cats in your area - work with Cat Network (www.catnetwork.org) or Alley Cat Allies (www.alleycat.org) to help control your neighborhood’s feral and stray cat populations. Keep your cat safe indoors and learn how to provide safe outdoor time.
o Become a foster parent - contact your local rescue group or shelter to learn more about becoming a foster parent for cats or kittens in need.
o Adopt - open your home to new cat or adopt a playmate for your existing pets.
Just some words of wisdom from felis catus to homo sapiens...in this case, it's not simply 1+1=2. More like 1+1=420,000 in 7 short years.